I used to play a game in elementary school with four squares painted on the parking lot and you used a rubber playground ball to try to get to the highest ranked square. This game was called Four Square but don’t get that confused with the adult social media game also called foursquare.
I admit, I have been trying to resist foursquare thinking that this was just another social media channel that would take my time and at first it completely seemed meaningless. I remember watching my friend and AMA peer, MB, “check in” to Arnold’s Bar on 8th Street for our social media committee meeting (oddly enough) and she asked me, “do you foursquare?” My response was probably in a typical judgy-Jesy tone and I most likely said something along the lines of, “ummm, NO!” But in all fairness I did ask what the obsession was and MB offered a great response but I still had zero interest.
Move forward about a month or two and I’m sitting in the Cincinnati chapter of American Marketing Association Interactive SIG (Small Interest Group) with a lot of great social media minds including the great “Social Media Adventurer,” Michelle Lentz. I just love this woman, but I digress. There we were this past Wednesday with Michelle Lentz, Rob Bunting, and Ed Estes discussing the “how-to’s” of foursquare and the popularity of Geo Location based applications. I decided that I was going to go into this SIG with more of an open mind about foursquare and I had the excuse that I really wanted to learn how to use this application so that I could show my B2C clients what was up. I started to take diligent notes and I started to write down: WHY?
Why was foursquare being used? Why was foursquare creating buzz here in Cincinnati? Why is foursquare good for local businesses?
As I sat and listened to ideas and answers being chatted back and forth I suddenly had my “ah-ha” moment and immediately wanted to be a part of the Cincinnati foursquare community. I wanted to shout from the rooftops, “people, people, get on board!” According to the website, the basic idea of foursquare is this:
foursquare is a cross between a friend-finder, a social city-guide and a game that rewards you for doing interesting things. We aim to build things to not only help you keep up with the places your friends go, but that encourage you to discover new places and challenge you to explore your neighborhood in new ways.
How cool is that? Think, if you are a local coffee shop, bookstore, or even a major retail grocery store you can really benefit from the citizens of Cincinnati competing against each other to try and get to your location for points and badges. All local consumer-based businesses should really consider checking out http://foursquare.com/businesses/ to get a full understanding of how this will benefit your business.
Words of Caution
Have you ever heard of the website called, http://pleaserobme.com/?
Well, check it out and don’t be one of those who lists their house on foursquare as an address that you frequent or don’t frequent when you are at other local places checking in. People, please think when you are using any geo location based application and don’t let everyone know that there is a free pass to just walk in your house and rob you while you are 1 hour away. Also, be careful who you “friend” and just remember that whoever you friend can see on their friend-list where you are and where you have checked in.
For those on the fence of whether to use foursquare or not, I say try it! Give it a whirl and let me know what you think.