EJM Designs Limited Blog

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How Foursquare Changed My Brain

Last weekend I attended a fantastic Second Saturday with New Media Cincinnati. The panel included D.G. who touted the wonders of Foursquare, elucidating about the ability of it to take social media and turn it around and foster real-world relationships.

Hey! That's what I talk about all the time!

So I had to jump on - finally. I downloaded the app for the Pre right then and there and as soon as I got home, I set up an account and started digging in.

And then my perception changed in an interesting way.

When I was in college, I worked for a few years in television production and the result of that was a change in how I saw news fonts and graphics on air. Soon after college, I acted in an independent film which changed my understanding of how films were organized and shot as opposed to how they showed up in the final cut. This was a much quicker and less monumental change, but a noticeable one nonetheless.

As soon as I was set up, I checked in for the first time - at a location I had to create: The Irish Heritage Center of Greater Cincinnati. And something lit up.

My thoughts moved to what was coming up in the next few days, where I had to stop, where I could check in, and my plan for stops on a daily basis went from a list to a mental map with little glowing nodes that signified where I'd check in and the glowing lines between them.

Gas station, eye doctor, Dilly Cafe. Mexican restaurant for dinner, bar for drinks, Kroger for shopping.

I'm sorry, I'm getting ahead of myself. Foursquare is a website with app companions that help you "unlock your city." Sign up for an account, download the app, and when you load it, the GPS in your phone will alert you to venues people have created. Check in and you earn points. You can see who's been there, who's there now, and if you check in at least twice and more than anyone else at that venue, you become the Mayor of that venue. As you progress, you also unlock badges like "checked in 10 places" or "3 places in one night" or "Local: same place 3 times in 1 week." You can also add suggestions to each venue to give someone a heads up on something they should try.

Granted, there is also potential danger - someone could use Foursquare to see that you're not home and go rob your house. Then again, as an article I recently read talked about, an answering machine pickup or even a funeral announcement in the paper can do the same thing.

A week later, I hold two mayorships, have unlocked 3 badges, and am just getting started.

From a marketing standpoint, the more a business gets involved, the more visible they can be by promoting themselves and even posting deals on their Foursquare venue page.

Like I said, I'm a n00b, still trying to figure it all out. So check out Foursquare for yourself when you get a chance. Add me to your friends. And have fun with it!

Oh, and here's a Foursquare rap I found: Badges Like Us

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