Here’s something interesting: I often look to the media for blog post ideas, but this time it seems to have happened in reverse. Case in point: a few weeks back I heard a broadcast from Marketplace Radio speaking to Foursquare’s CEO. Amazingly, just a few weeks prior I asked this very question on LinkedIn: “Has Foursquare’s time passed?” There were several good answers and a general consensus that it’s too early to tell.
Not long after I posted my question, Foursquare released a major update to its mobile app and got its PR machine cranking. What’s interesting here is that both Marketplace and I shared the same thought: Foursquare was introduced in 2009, gained massive popularity, and has been gradually cooling off ever since. Is that a sign of its having peaked already or just the fleeting attention span of the digerati?
Life After Death of the Check-In
“Life After Death of the Check In” -Jon Mitchell via ReadWriteWeb
Earlier this year, months before any of this, Jon Mitchell of ReadWriteWeb did this excellent and provocative article on the death of the check in. He rightly notes that it can be overkill:
…it’s a mundane performance of “I’m at the grocery store!” which is annoying noise to one’s friends and followers.
I started using it in early 2011, out of curiosity and to have something to do – like taking photos – while waiting in line at places or making art out of routine trips to places like, well… the grocery store. Hey, at least I try to make my activity interesting – but I sure as heck do NOT post every single update to Twitter, Facebook, etc.
I took all these photos of my local grocery store with my phone for Foursquare check-ins.
I always try to include a photo with each one. Hey, it keeps me entertained.
Businesses Could be Using Foursquare Better
Here’s the secret ingredient: Photos. Include fun photos of your storefront, employees (smiling, preferably), specials, or a behind-the-scenes view of what’s going on. These kind of unique details draw people in, and it can certainly be endearing to customers. I’d love to see an “ask us about this photo” post at some place I check in, then feel like an insider when I take them up on the offer. I’d be getting to know the business better, and maybe even getting a special deal.
I’m glad to see Foursquare innovating and I look forward to what’s next. The real test will be adoption. It won’t be genuinely interesting until more businesses and users get in on it and get creative. I just hope the next major developments don’t take as long – and with any luck they won’t. I’m sure Foursquare itself has also surely noticed its buzz decline, like Marketplace and your humble author.
What do you think? Are you on Foursquare? Have you been on it and lost interest? Have you ever gotten a deal somewhere because through the app? Let us hear from you in the comments!