When I first read about the location-based social network services foursquare and gowalla my thoughts were the same like the ones I had, when I had first read about twitter. “What’s the point of that?” and “I have to try this!” ;-) I know it’s weird to sign up for something even though you have no idea what this actually is and why and how you should use it. To sign up just because it’s new and you want be one of the first ones (well, not really, but at least not the last one *g*) to try it out. I couldn’t even try to use either foursquare or gowalla, because my phone was too old. But then I got the new Palm Pre with all its features to be online all the time. [Which of course begs the question: Why do you want to be online all the time? Topic for another post, maybe… ]
I very soon – like after a few clicks – knew that I’d prefer foursquare to gowalla. I probably could write a whole extra post about that too, but I don’t feel inclined to do it. Maybe it’s one of these Windows vs Apple, Coke vs Pepsi, Geha vs Pelikan *g* things. You are either one or the other. I liked the simple visual style of foursquare and the various unique badges. They added quite a few over the last few months I think. Or maybe I’m just unlocking them now.
But why use it in the first place? Besides wanting to try something new and being one of the “cool kids with the newest toy” *g*? I like the playful aspect of it. The “competition” of becoming mayor of a place and of course of staying mayor! To “earn” a new badge, even though sometimes I got it by accident. Like the photogenic badge, for having visited three places with photobooth :-) It’s a nice, entertaining amusement when I’m out and about. Which I’m not as much as I could be. I’m mayor of rather ordinary places: train station, supermarkets and such. And I also like the possibilty to localize some of my tweets through foursquare.
The whole things gets more interesting when real reward come into play, like it seems to happens more and more. Restaurants, bars, cafes, shops can and do offer special treats for the current mayor of their place. Which of course just is another incentive to return and spend some more money, but at least it’s a unique and new way. I honestly didn’t expected any company in Germany to actively use foursquare for that kind of customer communication / relationship. But maybe I underestimated them. One at least.
Because thanks to twitter (@luebue to be exact) I yesterday found out about the Mayer Offer at every Vapiano in Germany.
The Mayor gets a coffee specialty for free everytime he enters the location. – Der Mayor bekommt bei jedem Besuch eine Kaffeespezialität aufs Haus.
Lucky me, because I’m currently mayor of two Vapiano restaurants! I just hope that the staff of the one in Essen will be briefed on that offer and know how to deal with me, when I drop by on Wednesday to pick up my coffee ;-). Well, to have some dinner, after work and before a meeting in the evening. Provided that I am still the mayor on Wednesday…
I have to admit, I don’t get foursquare. I don’t quite understand how it works. I guess I might figure that out if I used it :-
It’s definitely one of these “you have to try it to understand how it works” :-) But it was the same with twitter for me…
The free coffee is pretty awesome. I’ll admit, while I haven’t deleted my account, I’m taking a foursquare break for a bit. Maybe it’s the facebook privacy blowback concerns, maybe it’s the fact that I was feeling an urge to check in everywhere, maybe it’s that most of my friends using it are in other cities. I’ll probably be back though…maybe if I got cool mayor offers!
I know the urge to check in everywhere :-) About the privacy thing: I try not to check in too close to home, an attempt to not give away too much of personal details. Neither at my work place. And there are a few more “no-check-in” locations for me, for several reasons. I probably don’t use 4sq the best way, because I don’t let just everyone be my friend there or seldom ask other users to “friend me”. I’m not really a big fan of the whole network aspect of the “social network” communities in general. It’s more the game aspect that I like about 4sq. And the possible special offers :-)