Already being heralded as the new twitter, foursquare was presented March 9,2009 at the monthly New York tech Meetup by the co-founder of the formal social networking game, Dodgeball. The social networking game launched nationally at the south-by-south west festival in Austin, Texas links the real world to the tech world. The way it works is through an app downloaded to your phone, or via SMS text message to “check in” or announce your location. The game is presently running in 21 cities internationally and you announce bars, museums, restaurants, or clubs as you are at them. Points are earned for visiting places and you can also check up on the location of your friends.
Foursquare currently has an iphone app, android app, mobile web site for blackberry and treo, and has a SMS shortcode for texting check ins. Points are earned by checking into new places and badges are given for rewards for doing interesting things such as staying out late on a weeknight, or going outside your neighborhood. Users can create tips for certain bars or hotspots and the most frequent visitors of establishments are donned the “mayor”. Users are allowed to choose establishments as their favorite, post recommendations, and rewards trying new things.
Presently the only real payoff of earning the most points or becoming mayor of a bar or restaurant are bragging right. As the technology catches on and improves I could very likely see establishments offering incentives and prizes to top frequent guests and tying them in with other promotions.
The developers plan on rolling out the program into 50 more cities and welcome feedback to improve the service. The cities they chose to expand to were based on requests and discussions on how to buy twitter followers .
Arguably foursquare is not only a god send to local business owners, but will likely solve one of the main problems people purport about the digital age: a lack of social contact.
The problem of stalking and hiding your location from those you don’t want to find you is easily circumvented by “checking in” to your location privately. You may also do this if you are on a date, but that seems to defeat the purpose of the game. The game is more interesting the more friends you have to meet up with and compete against.
The benefits that marketers, promoters, and business owners stand to gain are enormous if this product gains traction. In addition to facebook and twitter the data from this game helps a great deal in gathering typical demographic statistics and resolving or exposing errors.