Archive for November 2011

Foursquare, and Why You Care About Location-Based Social Networks   Leave a comment

 Foursquare, and Why You Care About Location-Based Social Networks
By Tony D’Orazio

By now, most people with a smartphone are familiar with Foursquare.  For those of you who are not, Foursquare is a location-based social network.  Using this fun and informative tool, you can “check in” to places you visit, and even become “mayor,” if you are the Foursquare player who has checked in most during the last 2 month period.  “Badges” are available for completing several tasks, such as checking in after 3am on a school night or stopping at far too many Starbucks locations.

Sound really stupid and like a gigantic waste of time?  It’s not.

From a personal standpoint, it can be useful for some people to keep track of friends and places in the community.  Knowing that three of your friends have checked in at your local bar might alert you to go there and share a beverage. Knowing that there are 120 people at Frontier Field right now, on the other hand, might be a flag that downtown should be avoided.  This second use of Foursquare – traffic avoidance – is one that is particularly useful when out of town, and might not know a city as well.

In fact, Foursquare is a terrific way to learn about a city, be it Rochester or wherever you happen to be visiting.  When people check in at venues in Foursquare, they have the option of leaving a tip behind.  For example, a recent tip at a local Wegmans states that it has 1 hour free child care.  That would be particularly useful to someone needing that service.  A quick perusal of other local tips will give clues on what is good to order at a particular restaurant, or special unpublished deals you might not find elsewhere.

Businesses have also begun to notice Foursquare as a marketing tool.  Several local and national chains have begun to offer discounts based upon Foursquare.  For example, the aforementioned Starbucks offered the mayor of each of their locations a 10% discount on drinks last summer.  This increased traffic to individual stores.  Furthermore, according to Roostercom.com, the users of Foursquare are largely women, and largely those in the appealing 35-49 age group – in other words, people who have money.  

Those that download and use the Foursquare client on their smartphones will also be the targets for such discounts and specials.  Using the phone’s GPS, Foursquare will alert the user to specials nearby; literally, businesses can and do use Foursquare to invite people in. Clients are available for all major smartphone platforms; if yours is one of the few that doesn’t have a native client, Foursquare also works in the mobile web browser on your phone.  

We here at examiner.com want to give you another reason to use Foursquare.  According to the official press release, “Foursquare, the premier social city guide, will now begin displaying tips from Examiner.com, the insider source for local, on its website and its mobile applications.”  This means that all local Examiners, here in Rochester and elsewhere, will provide local tips and insight, available both here and on Foursquare.  You can follow examiner.com on Foursquare here, and see the tips provided so far.

So give Foursquare a try.  Follow examiner.com on Foursquare, as well as your local Examiners, including this one.

Posted November 20, 2011 by cloudbusterspodcast in Uncategorized