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Play Foursquare


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My presentation on Foursquare for Modern Media class at the VCU Brandcenter given on October 6, 2009.

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Play Foursquare

  1. 1. Tuesday, October 20, 2009 The first thing you should know abut FourSquare is...
  2. 2. you will not like this Tuesday, October 20, 2009 you will not like this, you will think this is stupid, you will probably doubt that it’s something people actually take the time to play. But that’s ok, because skepticism is the 1st part of the adoption process that myself and the other 50,000+ users have gone through before we became 4SQ junkies. And when you think about it, most of us initially doubted Facebook and thought it was for narcissists, we initially wrote off Twitter as only for megalomaniacs, so it’s no surprise that having never played Foursquare yourself, you might have some skepticism. You gotta think that if something new comes out and isn’t met with some initial resistance- it probably isn’t that revolutionary after all...
  3. 3. IF YOU CAN’T DO IT FIRST DO IT BETTER source: I forget. Maybe Professor Don Just Tuesday, October 20, 2009 For those of you who haven’t been able to play- you might be surprised to learn you’re already familiar with some of the key functions. 4SQ was able to look at other apps that came out before its time, and cherry pick only the most loved features, as well as add in some of it’s own. Such as...
  4. 4. hungry eyes Tuesday, October 20, 2009 For example- we all are more than comfortable updating our status on Facebook. We also know that we can play with our privacy settings, so only your friends know what you want to share. That’s important because it’s 1 of the 1st concerns raised associated with Foursquare (“Is it dangerous to broadcast which bar I’m at?” The answer is no because you control which friends can get your alerts, you can also turn off the option to ping Twitter (which if you’re like me- feeds automatically into Facebook), and you can even choose to check in “off the grid” which means no one knows where you are but you’re still scoring points towards badges which I’ll get to soon. What’s genius about 4SQ- is that it’s promoted pretty much at the cost of $Free.99. Because you have the option to ping your updates to Twitter, which may or may not automatically feed into Facebook- people kept seeing “via foursquare” pop up in their social networks and began to ask what it’s all about. (Then of course there’s WOM.) Not only were friends asking savvy friends- but business saw their name popping up- and they got into the action which I’ll explain in a bit. Yelp is great- but it loses to 4SQ bc you have no idea whether you can trust the opinions of total strangers. Whereas when a 4SQ friend pings a tip about a must-try cocktail or appetizer at a bar or restaurant- you know it’s legit. For all the Pandora junkies, you’ll be stoked to know that the future feature of 4SQ is Pandora-esque tailored recommendations. For example, Naveen mentioned that if FSQ sees that you’ve been 3 of the 5 hottest new bars, they’ll be able to recommend that you go check out ____. Or, if you’ve been to a few bars that offer boardgames, they’d point out other bars with a similar vibe. The insight being that 4SQ users tend to be interested in being the 1st to find new haunts.
  5. 5. source: Interviewing 4SQ Super-Users Tuesday, October 20, 2009 Now that you’re a little more familiar with the functions, what type of people would be drawn to 4SQ? 4SQ was a huge hit at SxSW Interactive last year- so even in its infant stages, it had the digital ninjas of the world advocating it. Which led to it taking off with the ad industry, which makes sense since advertising arguably reflects what’s relevant in pop culture. So Faris Yakob and Noah Brier are renown ad guys whose blogs and work we’ve followed and admired- so when I saw that they are big fans of 4SQ, it was powerful social proof for me to tap into Foursquare and see what all the buzz is about. 4SQ will be about a year old in January and it’s already valued at 6 to 6.5 million according to Business Insider.
  6. 6. pa rty ain ’t a in ion pa rty n op un into innovation & av ea les experimentation h s.. . intelligent cynics Digital Influencers believable fanboys into tinkering with technology are bra h ggi t os ng righ c ted ts r e x pe first to find... ule ! source: Interviewing 4SQ Super-Users Tuesday, October 20, 2009 4SQ players are a hell of a userbase. You can definitely consider them Digital Influencers. When I asked them to describe themselves and their friends that also play 4SQ, here’s what kept coming up: Yellow- pride themselves on being the first to find new gadgets, new bars, whatever the next flavor might be. They’re also tinkerers and makers themselves, as well as really on top on the latest innovations others are pumping out into the world. Blue- They’re thought leaders. They’re the ones you call when you want to know which digital camera to buy and why. You read their blogs and trust them- you know they’re big into researching specs, forums, etc. Purple- party ain’t a party until these cats show up. They’re powerfully socially connected, know who’s doing what, where and when. They always know the best thing to order off a menu- or which bartender makes the best Beekeeper. Green- and finally, and arguably the most important. You know they’re intelligent, usually a non-believer in a new product until they’ve fully tested it out themselves, so if you know that they doubted 4SQ in the beginning but are now all about checking-in, the most intelligent cynics can make for the most persuasive fanboys when it comes to getting new users to join.
  7. 7. derision adoption process skepticism derision dare to download just checkin’ in ma moment of silence contagious compulsion outbreak is on! Tuesday, October 20, 2009 Based on my personal experience playing 4SQ, talking and surveying my 4SQ friends, a common adoption process emerged. As I mentioned before, being the highly intelligent people you all are, you’re most likely to greet the idea of 4SQ with some skepticism, maybe even think it’s silly. But alas, after seeing seemingly everyone check-in and ping twitter, you dare to download the app. Stick your toe in the water, and score the Newbie badge, and all of a sudden you get “small sense of accomplishment,” just for heading out. Before you know it, you and your friends are popping into new bars, all having a moment of silence as everyone whips out their phones to check in, and from then on, it’s a contagious compulsion to check-in. It’s only fun if you’re friends are in on it too, so you find yourself becoming a 4SQ loyalist, then an advocate, and suddenly the 4SQ outbreak is on amongst you and your growing circle of friends.
  8. 8. use case Tuesday, October 20, 2009 Since most students here in Richmond aren’t able to play yet, I did a “demonstration” in class) i.e. said things like: “Strategists get out of class and head to Mojos. The copywriters see the check-ins and decide to leave 821 to join the Mojos crowd. Adam knew a lot of people checked into Crossroads Coffee, so he headed to Starbucks where he knew he wouldn’t be distracted. Layne is out on a date with a first year, and doesn’t want the world to know yet so she check in off the grid. Meanwhile, Rachel is the mayor of Avalon, and is cherishing her free Devil’s Ale. I’m hoping to oust her, so I head over there to while scoring the Bender badge in the process since I’ve been out 3 nights in a row this week. Sam has had a thing for Sara, so when he sees her check into Penny Lane Pub, he rallies up his boys to head downtown so he might “bump into her,” and finally have a chance to ask her out.”
  9. 9. ask me about... douchebag overshare way, way far away gym rat adventurer local playa please! source: personal experience Tuesday, October 20, 2009 (explained how the badges is a big perk for most.) Much like Facebook fan pages, or facebook “gifts,” we’re already familiar with giving props to the things we’re into, whether it’s traversing all of Brooklyn, making appearances at all the West Side bars, or being bad-mother-shut-your-mouth by getting Crunked during the work week, badges reward us for shutting off the macbooks and going out in the real world.
  10. 10. Tuesday, October 20, 2009 In every article you can possibly read about Foursquare, as well as during the survey I conducted, you can’t ignore the Allure of Foursquare Bragging Rights. There’s nothing quite like knowing “people know you and your drink” in a big city. As one survey respondent aptly put it “Mayorship kinda “feels like Cheers, the bartender knows you and makes your drink right away.” I’ve talked to 4SQ users who as soon as they get ousted, make their way over to the bar or restaurant to reclaim their title. What business wouldn’t love FourSquare for driving that kind of sense of urgency?
  11. 11. LBS baby- the future Tuesday, October 20, 2009 is now For years now, we’ve heard how it’s finally going to be “THE Year for Mobile.” It’s already here- Foursquare IS the holy grail of mobile. Location Based Services are THE thing to tap into now that technology has given us these fun toys like 4SQ. Foursquare offers: -real time data on peak hours of foot traffic -trending the most popular establishments as well as Must-Try meals and/or drinks, -provides hyper-contextualized recommendations from people you know (i.e I know which of my friends can tell me the best Pho or vegetarian restaurant in the whole city via their check-ins) -encourages people to break their routine and explore their city -spurs impromptu meetups of likeminded people -helps businesses recognize and reward their most loyal customers- which in turn drives more business as those “locals” continue to invite their friends to their joint. -helps businesses create incentives to acquire new customers. i.e. Check into ___ for the first time and get a discounted ____.
  12. 12. mom & pop stops source: survey responses Tuesday, October 20, 2009 Whether you’re resident or just visiting, we like to feel like we know the “finds” of a city, instead of relying on corporate chains to spend our hard- earned disposable income. A common survey response was how much 4SQ users love to learn about and patronize new local, mom & pop type spots.
  13. 13. what to do boo? Tuesday, October 20, 2009 Nobody likes to feel like they’re out of ideas on places to go. I keep a filtered folder of 4SQ check-ins, so I always have a backup plan to restaurants/bars to check out myself. Plus, the more I see different friends hitting up, the more I know it’s a hot spot. Since I consider my 4SQ friends people who speak NewYork as their second language- I find out the juicy stuff early. Check the inbox dates- that’s how many tips I can get in about one day.
  14. 14. oh i just can’t get enough Tuesday, October 20, 2009 why businesses LOVE foursquare. (explained how businesses saw their business’s name being referenced on Twitter via FourSquare, and the idea to reward mayors with incentives was an organically-sourced idea.)
  15. 15. you can’t damn this Tuesday, October 20, 2009 can anyone guess why Foursqaure is so successful? why even if you think it sounds dumb to play- Foursquare is still important and powerful? Because it’s technology whose end benefit results in more face to face conversations and outings. It’s technology that rewards you for getting away from screens and keyboards and into bars and restaurants. And its’ those face to face connections that are the most valuable utility we have.
  16. 16. Venture Capitalists fighting for a piece of you? Google still doesn’t get it Foursquare is the New Social Lubricant. Seriously. How could 4SQ Fail? Tuesday, October 20, 2009 (Appendix) other things to discuss time permitting.
  17. 17. Tuesday, October 20, 2009 (Appendix) great example of 4SQ’s utility- recommendations from friends whose opinion’s you trust.
  18. 18. simpsons reference news about USV mashable scoble (logos) Tuesday, October 20, 2009 (Appendix) how 4SQ has been infiltrating pop culture and is on the radar of techhie influencers.