Just as worries surfaced that social networking has the potential to alienate people from being truly present in each other’s lives, along comes Foursquare. This mobile app creates possibilities for your virtual life to intersect with your real life at a moment’s notice. Say it’s Friday, or Monday, and you’re headed through the doors of your favorite coffee shop or beer joint in Istanbul – or Stillwater or Cleveland. Send a virtual All Points Bulletin announcing your location to all your virtual friends on Foursquare or maybe just ten of your friends. Soon enough friends who happen to be nearby can join you for conversation and laughter. No need to peruse your phone contact list to find your posse.
Beyond social networking, Foursquare is a game that awards badges. These are awarded for checking in often, for visiting numerous places, numerous times, for finding photo booths and combinations of these. It is thought that the “gym rat” badge actually correlated with more visits to the gym. The mayor badge is particularly interesting because a frequent visitor can become the mayor of Chipotle or the Denver Art Museum or Wisma Anggrek, a place near Jakarta, Indonesia. Such a title could lead to discounts at restaurants or other venues. With around 700,000 members, Foursquare is negotiating business partnerships with Bravo TV, Zagat Survey and others, in an effort to monetize this venture.
Patrick Kennedy who calls himself Arkansas Kennedy and who claims not to have any personal fortune, is using Foursquare to connect with the public as he runs for office. He is the first congressional candidate to use Foursquare as a campaign tool, though others are soon to follow. Meanwhile Foursquare founders are positioning themselves to be a business partner, travel guide, friend finder, leisure time filler and more. Those who insist on comparisons believe Foursquare could be the next Twitter.
- New Media
- How To