OK OK, I know what you're thinking, "Nobody cares where I am and I don't need to sign up for another service.". I beg to differ. How about if you I promise you a free drink or an appetizer? Maybe a new way to get feedback from your customers? A insider's tip you otherwise would be unaware of? How about an instant connection to someone you're is attending the same conference as you? All these can easily be accomplished using these services and I imagine your creativity can take it much further.
Foursquare uses the GPS in your mobile device and shows the places close to your location. Now, simply check-in to where you are. I recommend NOT linking to Twitter or Facebook, because it's annoying your followers/friends in my opinion. You can click People and see who is there already and who is the mayor. The Mayor is simply the person who has checked-in the most at this location. Now, say you're at a conference and you see someone you've been meaning to connect with in person, you can easily connect if they are also checked-in. Also, Foursquare may show you (not in picture) what is Trending Nearby, basically showing what places have the most people checked-in in your vicinity AKA where the party's at.
Now, moving to the pictures below. Details shows you a pin of where the location on the map and also links to Yelp so you can see reviews of that location. Tips is the most important feature in Foursquare. These are basically review or little-know tips. You can look at individual place and see all the tips left by other users. I have used this to try a dessert I never heard at a restaraunt, learned about a drink-special at a pub that requires a verbal code and found the best place for wifi in an airport. You can also click Tips Nearby and see what tips where left by other users (see middle, below). This is great if you are traveling and not sure where to go. It's also great to monitor Tips from your locations to get real feedback of what your customers are saying about you. Currently, I would recommend the manager monitor each location for feedback. Some locations give users incentive by rewarding the mayor with something free. This replaces the punch card and rewards your regulars appropriately. You can imagine where this will go once mainstream adoption takes place on Foursquare or a similar service.
You can find me on Foursquare here.
Another popular service extremely similar is Gowalla. I honestly just started getting into it and won't get into details about it yet. Very similar, but it adds more of a game factor to it as what I've seen. For example, the Trips are adventures with tasks for you to complete and check off.
You can find me on Gowalla here.
Currently, the biggest issue that I find is the lack adoption of both services by the general population. Personally, I found Foursquare extremely useful in connecting and finding useful tips despite the masses not participating. Perhaps neither Foursquare nor Gowalla will be endorsed by Oprah and go mainstream, but the concept will stick around and catch on like Facebook sooner or later in my opinion. Honestly though, I agree with Marcus Brown that Foursquare will be HUGE. Being that Gowalla is Austin-based, I think it will get much publicity over the next few weeks during the SXSW festival in Austin.
Are you on either or both? If so, please add something I missed or what you like about these services.
If not, does the above post sell you on signing up? If not, what's missing or why would prefer to be left out?
Please comment and connect with me on Jivespace.
Thank you for reading - Michael Fraietta