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Postmedia's Use of Foursquare


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Presentation delivered at the International Symposium on Online Journalism, April 1, 2011

Presentation delivered at the International Symposium on Online Journalism, April 1, 2011

Published in: Education

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  • Thanks very much for inviting me. I know we’re competing with the Rangers first game of the season this afternoon. So thanks for being here.I’m a Blue Jays fan. So it’s nice to be somewhere with a team that has an actual chance of winning a championship.
  • Study looked a very specific thing done by a small number of editors in North America:Tying editorial content to location using the social network FoursquarePeople at a location “check in” to a place & can read tips left by others. They indicate that they have “Done” a tip or add the tip to their “To-Do” listNews organizations are using it to distribute their editorial content as tips on locations, which Foursquare calls venues.If you follow a user, they will also see their tips pop up when you are nearby the place where they left the tipsNews organizations using this to distribute restaurant reviews — and other types of content
  • Interviews with editors using FoursquareI chose Postmedia because it’s one of the most active news organizations using FoursquareIt’s clear that news organizations are putting only a fraction of their content into Foursquare.I was interested — what was it about these articles?And also about the process of getting them into Foursquare. Who is doing it? And how.I looked at it through the framework of gatekeeping – the function of editors deciding what gets published/distributed.
  • Asked the participants about content they put in Foursquare that they considered “successful”I left it up to them to judge what was successful -- Generally ones that received a lot of reactionNatPost: Dropped a series of tips at Toronto Film Festival locations. Reviews and guides to the festivalEdmonton Journal: Took a series of opinion pieces about light rapid transit use. Left at them LRT stations in the cityVancouver Sun: Left reviews of a couple of downtown restaurants that were popular
  • One key question asked: What content were the editors choosing for this location-based service?Rarely about anything that took place at a certain time – partially due to workload, they tried putting band profiles at a club venue before a concert – but few saw it. Has to have some longevity.“Evergreen” quality – useful for a long whileOpinion – something that got an emotional reaction from people. “I agree!”Few instances of news – “just jarring” to know someone had been beaten where you are.
  • What was the nature of this editorial content?Content that provided a recommendation: a guide, a travelogue, a review Framed to promote user action — to click “Done” on a tip or start a conversation on Twitter or Facebook – something that could be measured – yes, but most said it was to promote engagementTimeless – but also about events, IF they lasted a few daysAbout a specific location like an actual restaurant – but also about activities done at a narrow type of location: About things that people do at airports or about issues of interest to people who shop at Apple stores.Not about solitary places. Eg: “birthplace of a famous person”. Instead about places where people gather in groups socially – at music and theatre festivals, sports events, transportation hubs & educational classes. Places where people feel inclined to interact.
  • Mobile devices will be a huge distribution channel for news in the near future – many indications of that – and a user’s location will be important ( hyper-local)Just one channel: Editors said “It’s important to be present where people are” a) physically (GPS) b) where people connect socially in networksAbout going out, having a good time, exploring — and sharing online. Limited research that suggests people share less when they are upset. Affects content.Lots more in the paper. Thanks.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Tim CurrieAssistant ProfessorSchool of JournalismUniversity of King’s CollegeHalifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
      Experiments in Location-Based Content:A Case Study of Postmedia’s Use of Foursquare
    • 2. Foursquare
      Social network
      6.5 million users
      Smartphone app tied to GPS
      Users leave tips at a location
      Users can indicate they have “done” tips
      Game-like experience
    • 3. The Study
      Interviews with editors placing editorial content as tips
      3 Postmedia newspapers: National Post, Edmonton Journal, Vancouver Sun
      RQ1: What criteria have editors used to select content for Foursquare?
      RQ2: How have the editors produced this content?
      Theory: Gatekeeping
    • 4. Uses
      Q: What content was successful?
      Film festival guide
      Restaurant review
      Opinion piece
    • 5. Findings
      Q: How would you characterize the editorial contentyou place in Foursquare?
      “Not hard-core news”
      “Useful to people over a longer period of time”
    • 6. Findings
      Newspaper content placed in Foursquare was:
      An opinion, review, guide or first-person account
      Described with the goal of inspiring action
      Timeless — or about an event of 2+ days
      About a specific location or an activity done at a specific type of location
      Placed at a location where people gather socially
    • 7. Implications
      News on mobile devices is the future
      Foursquare is just one of many distribution channels
      Content tied to social nature of the tool