Here’s my Travelogue 4 conclusion about reverting back to a lifestyle of less technology during the break. Enjoy.
Tag Archives: mobile technology
Before I go make my concluding remarks about Foursquare, I want to first mention another development I learned of this week, very relevant to our class (not necessarily brand new, but this was reported on two weeks ago by TechCrunch):
Foursquare is implementing more and more peer-production! Very active Foursquare users can earn the label “Superuser,” made up of three levels – each allowing greater access to participate in the development of certain aspects of the site.
- Level 1: Users are able to edit venues (including names and cross streets), mark places as “closed,” and note duplicates.
- Level 2 (added two weeks ago): Users are able to merge venues themselves when there are duplicates.
- Level 3 (not added yet): Likely to contain elements such as adding badges and policing other users.
According to TechCrunch: “Shortly after the group of users got upgraded to Level 2, founder Crowley noted that ’we had some 2000+ duplicate venues in the system 30 mins ago. We’re [now] down to 400.’ He followed up shortly after that noting, ‘it took less than 2 hours for users to go thru 90% of our merge queue.”
Benkler (and the new media elite) would be proud. This seems like an efficient use of user participation for a start-up with only four employees. With users willing to help edit and produce Foursquare content, Foursquare themselves can focus on bigger issues.
Now some concluding remarks on my adventures with Foursquare:
Foursquare has been gaining more steam this past week, with articles about the service (or location-based services in general – Brightkite, Google Latitude, Stalqer, Gowalla) in CNN, Huffington Post, Washington Post, and NPR. These services are definitely being hyped as the “next big thing,” especially because of their marketing potential – what I want to focus on in this travelogue.
So far, there are 35 NYC based businesses (mostly bars and restaurants) actively using Foursquare to promote return visits and promotions. Here are a few examples of what they’re doing:
@Angels and Kings: Hey Hey! Every 5th check in on Foursquare get a well drink or beer for free! Show your bartender to redeem!
I wanted to write a quick post about how my first week as a Foursquare user is going. I’ve been curious about it for a while, and this travelogue was a good reason to try it out. As far as new technology goes, I don’t consider myself an early adapter, so I don’t think I would have signed up for Foursquare otherwise right now. I sent out invites to about 7 friends, but only 2 of them signed up. 3 of them ignored the request, and 2 people asked me what it was all about, but when I told them, weren’t really into the idea of telling people where they were (fear of “oversharing”). So, unfortunately, I only have 5 friends on the site right now. So this is where Foursquare is lacking for me.
I think this says a lot about the people I socialize with though – one of my friends on it is a graphic designer, and is really into digital culture – he has 35 friends. Another is a computer programmer/digital artist, and he has 15 friends. They both run in circles of “techy” people (who I’m sure mostly have iPhones), ie, people who are probably more aware of new social media/internet developments than others, and are more enthusiastic to try them out. Apparently Foursquare is also really popular with NYC media professionals, according to this New York Magazine article notably titled, “Times Piece Ignores the Fact That Foursquare Is for Boozehounds.”
So it’s important to note that even though Foursquare may be lacking in users, those that are on it are key influencers (and boozehounds?).
I’ve been following Foursquare’s developments closely this week, mainly through their very active Twitter feed, and google alerts. Because Foursquare is so new, and is just now starting to pick-up steam, it’s actually been really interesting.
My main question is whether Foursquare is going to have a lasting effect in the Web 2.0 world, or if it’s just another short-lived social media fad…”the next big thing.” I do think the service has a lot of business potential (and with this travelogue, I’m believing that more and more), but I’m not convinced that users will flock to Foursquare, especially not like they did to Facebook or Myspace. And I think that a large user-base is the key to Foursquare’s success. What’s the fun of using a tool that socially connects users in real-time and real life, if there’s no one to connect to? As I mentioned in class, Foursquare can only really attract a very specific audience: people with iPhones or Androids (texting through a regular cellphone is possible, but not as fun/active), who like to socialize, and who want people to know of their whereabouts. For some, Foursquare’s service offers too much information.
However, Foursquare does seem to be growing.
The biggest news this week was the announcement of a partnership between foursquare and BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), the public train service in San Francisco, to encourage public transit use. BART is the first transit agency to implement Foursquare – it will be offering its own badge to regular riders, and riders can become mayors of all of the train stations. Starting in November (and lasting 3 months), riders who have checked-in from BART stations will randomly be awarded $25 BART vouchers, and in the near future, BART will be coordinating promotions with venue partners through mybart.org. The partnership was announced at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco on Thursday. Dennis Crowley, Foursquare’s co-founder, explained, “We’re excited about the potential for Foursquare to influence people’s actions and decisions beyond things like entertainment, into broader areas, like taking public transit or getting involved in their communities.”
I’ve been curious about foursquare for a while now, and yesterday’s New York Times article (as well as me needing an idea for a travelogue) was the tipping point for making me finally attempt to see what it’s all about.
According to the NY Times article, foursquare is “a fast-growing social networking service…becoming the tool of choice. A combination of friend-finder, city guide and competitive bar game, Foursquare lets users “check in” with a cellphone at a bar, restaurant or art gallery. That alerts their friends to their current location so they can drop by and say hello.”