Thursday, January 12, 2012

Do you FourSquare

Three months ago I meet a young German game developer in Doha and we got to discuss Social Media and in particular FourSquare. So I have been playing with the application since.

So I've been closely monitoring FourSquare, not only as a new social media platform but also from a local user perspective. While most technology businesses have been focusing on the development of location based SMS services, the reliance and support of mobile operators in this region has often been the major stumbling block.

This seems to be the main reason why  FourSquare  will succeed as the one true location based information platform piggybacking on existing GPS technology and of course, Google maps. Well, that and its simplicity and ease of use. The ability for users to find businesses or places of interest, within your current locality, with one click on your mobile offers vast opportunities for retailers, restaurants, bars and cafe's to attract those within their vicinity. For tourists, the ability to check user reviews and tips provides a tripadvisor-type experience not limited to just hotels, while on the go. For local residents, foursquare offers information on new venues that may previously have been missed.

Like most social media platforms, foursquare is totally dependent on user generated content, which provides its biggest challenge. Therefore, platforms such as this can go either one-way or another in terms of user interest and interactivity. Incentives are traditionally seen as the key to sustaining interactivity, which borrows some of the key aspects of loyalty schemes.
FourSquare cleverly incentivise its users by awarding points, which at the moment only has relevance when viewing a league table between your friends or one for the entire city you reside in. That said, the ability for 3rd parties to link to the foursquare API in the same way as facebook and twitter allow, will surely allow applications such as loyalty programs to establish themselves firmly within the foursquare framework.

So if you want to join me on FourSquare, I am WayneMansfield like I am everywhere in Social Media Marketing.

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