ange fitzpatrick

A good man in a storm

Posts tagged Foursquare

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Reading list round up 20 October 2010-ish…

This ought to be called the BRB edition. I’m back from a very restful week off, and these are the things I was reading just before I left

Foursquare hits four million members

I’ve been following Fourquare avidly for sometime now. The combination of social networking, targeted offers and the gaming aspect of mayorships and badge-collecting makes it look like a success story. They’ve an uncanny knack of combining social interaction with a viable business model.  Facebook recently launched their Places as a competitor to Foursquare and Gowalla, time will tell how much this will impact on Foursquare’s success… 

Extra Credit:

Foursquare Will Hit 4 Million Members This Week -The World: by Phil

Interesting things from Google

Kiss your productivity goodbye with this epic slideset from Google illustrating more than a handful of the things they’ve been working on, looking at or thinking about. You’ll have to view it as a Google Doc.

The World Is Full of Interesting Things- Google Operating System blog


What if a university was orgered like Wikipedia?

It would consist of voluntary and self-organizing associations of teachers and students “not unlike the original idea for the university, in the Middle Ages,” he said. Its curriculum would be intellectually fluid.

The Chronicle asks the question. 

Mr Burns’ plan foiled at last!

Mr. Burns: Since the beginning of time, man has yearned to destroy the sun. I shall do the next best thing: block it out. 

So you’ll be relieved to hear that the UN may soon ban blotting out the sun. Good, good! 

And finally, from Stephen Fry… and it’s not all about twitter:

Filed under foursquare language google evil Reading List

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Check Out: How to Get Value out of Foursquare (Instead of Interruptions)

From nerdgap:

Hotel Molokai: Guest Registration / Front Desk

"Yesterday afternoon, I published the following message to Twitter while sitting in the waiting area at a car wash where I was getting our van swabbed up:

"I was just about to check in from a car wash on foursquare when I realized how unbelievably banal and stupid it would be to do so."

That got me thinking about all of the location-based networks that have become popular, like Foursquare and Gowalla and others. If you’re unfamiliar with how these work, the basic idea is that you can, using your GPS-equipped smart phone, “check in” from the various places you visit like restaurants, bars, retail stores, etc. The ostensible benefit being that when you check in someplace, it alerts your “friends” (that is, people whom you have given approval to be notified when you check in and from what location) and that, if it’s feasible and they’re close to where you are, they could meet you or otherwise coordinate with you to meet since they now know that you’re close by. It’s a nice idea, but there are a few simple truths about these systems that I think we should all get comfortable with…

Read More

(Source: )

Filed under foursquare location based networking

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Location — the “where” of a social experience — is not the most important characteristic of social media. In order to create lasting value, location-aware social networks need to look at what motivates their users to share with one another and make it central to the app’s design and user experience.

Beyond the Checkin: Where Location-Based Social Networks Should Go Next

Yan-David Erlich on the dangers of check-in fatigue and the next step for Foursuare, Gowalla and friends.

Google Map Pin marks the entry by RobiNZ, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License  by  RobiNZ 

Filed under foursquare location based networking social networking

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Foursquare: already at a library near you

I’m in the library at the moment, both literally and digitally.  I’m sitting at my desk and I’ve checked into the library on Foursquare.  

Now if I was in a trendy New York neighbourhood sitting in an achingly cool yet understated deli or juice bar, the smoothie or cupcake in my hand may have been bought at a special discounted rate that I got simply for checking-in.  I maybe a regular, or a newbie, I might be nibbling something completely different because of a review I’ve read.  

Now the business implications for Foursquare are obvious.  You can bring new customers in with special deals, reward the loyalty of existing ones with generous bonuses for Mayors (those who check-in most frequently).  Feedback- though sometimes blunt and painful- is instant; new ideas can be tested, problems resolved quickly, etc.  

What about here in the library, is there any real value to encouraging Foursquare use here?  

There are three main ways we can tap into the Foursquare phenomenon

  • Incentives
  • Listening
  • Marketing

Incentives are the most obvious option.  Prove your Mayorship at the J Murrey Atkins library in Charlotte, NC and claim your free muffin, libraries across the US are also giving out free tote bags, mugs, books and even the opportunity to nominate the book of the week.  Readers think of us as an integrated service, whatever the reality behind the scenes; incentives are a great option for larger libraries with cafeterias and souvenir stands.  

Libraries can take advantage of the service to organise library treasure hunts for kids or teens, or campus discovery sessions like the one organised at Harvard.  Summer reading initiatives become more engaging when libraries design their own badges.  Badges can be awarded for frequency of check-in, initial check-in or for reading a certain book, wearing a special colour in the library etc. This social gaming element has been very popular in Facebook, Farmville being the most obvious example, and is now becoming a feature of Twitter with Fallen London.    

Academic libraries have a unique opportunity to engage with a specialist subset of their users by listening to their suggestions and concerns.  Users currently on Foursquare are tech-savvy, early adopters who are able to give us a unique insight into the services we offer.  The applications they use, and the platforms they use them on could become the norm in the next year or two.  What an opportunity to get it right when ten people are asking us about QR codes on bookshelves, about accessing paid for content on mobile devices.  Next year it could be one hundred people asking that question and we still won’t have addressed the issue.  

I’m not usually one to make predictions about the future, but the folks on Foursquare at the moment are a lot like the folks on twitter three years ago; people keen to try something new and see what kind of applications it could have, applications outside of what the developers initially envisaged.

With Foursquare the work has been done for us.  It’s successful in the business world, and has spread across the pond to here.  An easy to use interface available to anyone with a smart phone, netbook or laptop, it has incentives for users to develop the habit of checking-in wherever they go.  What will they find when they check-in to your library?  A to-do list busting with good ideas about exhibitions, user education initiatives, talks and seminars, even recommendations from the cafeteria menus?  Will there be suggestions about good places to work, areas where WiFi is available, new resources that have just hit the catalogue?  

The tags on British Library page suggests that the library is good for Mac users, academics and (thankfully) books.  The tips from users suggests a great place to work with friendly staff, good millionaires shortbread and Wifi which can be intermittent- hey, at least you know so now you can fix it.  Visitors are also marketing the library’s exhibitions, picking out must see items to add to their own personal to-do list.  Could your library add these sort of tips, would this kind of publicity benefit you?  Do you want more readers like these coming into your building? 

Facebook and Google are both preparing to go local with their services, allowing you to specify a geographical location so that information, and more crucially ads, can be targeted to where you are.  People beyond the fringes of Foursquare will soon develop that check-in habit, so make sure you are ready when they check-in with you.

Extra Credit:

My articles on Foursquare:

Do you, ahem, Foursquare? Perhaps you should

New York Times launches Foursquare friendly city guide

Further afield

Checking In: location services for libraries- Library Journal

Why We Check In: The Reasons People Use Location-Based Social Networks- Read Write Web

Foursquare: Why It May Be the Next Twitter- Mashable

5 Ways Foursquare is Changing the World- Mashable

Location based services and Libraries - Tweets & Foursquare- Library 2.0

FourSquare and Libraries-

Foursquare and Libraries – Definitely Something There!- David Lee King

The Library in Your Pocket: Mobile Trends for Libraries View more presentations from Meredith Farkas.

Filed under Foursquare libraries digital library mobile devices

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The Library in Your Pocket: Mobile Trends for Libraries

Meredith Farkas

Just about everything you need to know about using mobile technology in the library.  Very glad she mentioned Foursquare and QR codes, which are my interests of choice at the moment.  I should get out more.  

I first saw this presentation on David Parkes’ blog.

Filed under mobile library Foursquare QR codes

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New York Times launches Foursquare friendly city guide

Foursquare is at the top of my current watch list, it seamlessly integrates social interaction with the business community, and builds interesting virtual community groups.  News today is that the New York Times had launched an app for the iPhone (iPod touch and iPad too) which allows you to carry their critics around in your pocket.  At your fingertips will be the best places to eat and drink in Manhattan and Brooklyn- sadly the rest of the city isn’t covered.  What makes this particularly interesting is that it also allows Foursquare check-ins, which is where you announce your arrival at a listed location.  I mentioned in my earlier article on the subject about the upcoming Facebook local  and pondered whether or not it would chose to interact with Foursquare or try to rival it; the interactivity between this NYT app and the Foursquare interface suggests that Facebook might just have to bite its tongue.

Image from the New York Times (see below)

Billed as The Scoop, the app is already available in the app store and describes itself as ‘the insiders guide’.  Updated with weekly where to eat and drink listings, as well as local events, Mashable reckons it’s best suited to locals rather than tourists.  Foursquare users are already taking advange of special offers and discounts from bars and restaurants hungry for their custom and positive instant feedback, perhaps this will pave the way for NYT specific offers and events?

If you’re not iFamily equipped but would like a look, a web version is also available.

Extra Credit:

Mashable: New York Times Launches City Guide and Checkin Tool for iPhone
The Scoop - The New York Times
The Scoop NYC for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store
Do you, ahem, Foursquare? Perhaps you should

Filed under apps iPhone Foursquare reviews New York

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Do you, ahem, Foursquare? Perhaps you should.

I read on Mashable that Foursquare has just clocked its 40 millionth check in.  If you’ve not heard of Foursquare, it is location specific social networking; its very big in the US where WiFi is better established, but is growing in the UK too- there’s  even an entry for Cambridge University Library.

The idea is that you use your mobile device to log your location and interact with others.  In the library setting it might be seeking help or organising visits to the Tea Room; your device scanning the area for your Facebook and twitter friends.  Each location also has a ‘mayor’, and you can gain prizes and rewards for your social interactions- very clever when you consider the popularity of social networking games of the Farmville ilk.

Where Foursquare is really making an impact is in how it interacts with the commercial sector.  Foursquare users can share short reviews and recommendations on everything from films to cocktails to food in the locations they happen to be.  Eager to be part of the instant buzz this can create, businesses are offering special deals to Foursquare users.

I’m going to leave all the safety concerns about sharing your geographical locations with others aside for the moment, although lots of people have voiced concerns.  What makes Foursquare so interesting fro me is the way that it has successfully blended social and work interaction with the commercial sphere; this is probably what interests Facebook too.

Facebook is about to go local, which may concern Google as Facebook’s ability to market targeted ads will now become localized.  McDonald’s are going to be first to try it and I predict that the coffee guys, in all their incarnations will not be far behind.  In practice this may mean that as I’m a member of a Facebook group called Burger Thursday, I may need never hunt around for a McDonald’s again.  Joy.

Over a year ago I posted an article (initially on Facebook) about how twitter was changing our interactions with each other, the piece was prompted by a Facebook redesign incorporating twitter-style status updates. I said in that article:

"Twitter more than Facebook is becoming the place where business and pleasure and meeting."

Facebook was playing catchup then and I think they still are.  The library fan pages we set up haven’t been the dynamic, interactive start pages we hoped they’d be, undergraduates are more likely to listen in to our twitter feeds to find out about events at the library.  I’m not saying Foursquare is the next big thing, but something like it will be: something mobile, which allows users to connect with each other and with business in a way that suits them.  

Further Reading:

Foursquare Seeks to Turn Nightlife Into a Game - Bits Blog -
Why Foursquare Drives Business: What You Need to Know | Social Media Examiner

Filed under Web 2.0 mobile library Facebook Foursquare New York social networking