Like Mindy Finn of Engage and others, I’ve been trying to figure out Foursquare – not necessarily because I like it, but because it’s my job to know how it works, and how it can be applied.
Vincent Harris of TechRepublican has some good ideas about it, and businesses like Whole Foods have gotten on the bandwagon by asking users to check in. Some offer discounts for check ins or mayorships.
Yesterday, I was chatting with a small business owner and soon-to-be restaurateur about ways he could use it for his business. He wasn’t sold on its utility. When I checked in at Nationals Park to watch the Washington One-Man Show, a Facebook friend made fun of me for playing “that stalker game.”
It seems like many just aren’t quite sure what to make of Foursquare yet, which is reminiscent of another social media/network craze from a few years ago: Twitter. When Twitter first hit, it instructed users to tell everyone what they were doing – making it sound like a glorified Facebook status update. When people started understanding the ability to communicate in public conversations with 140 characters – and the concept of microblogging – Twitter became more than its founders probably imagined it would.
As Foursquare becomes more prevalent, more businesses, organizations, and campaigns will start to take advantage of the ability for people to check in electronically from their phone, and the utility will become more obvious. Until then, here’s a very telling metric that indicates this isn’t a passing fad: Foursquare’s current value is $95 million, and they’re planning to expand.