My Charlotte Foursquare Christmas List, 2009
Posted on 23 Dec 2009 by Desiree Kane
A little over a month ago Foursquare, the location-based social media scavenger hunt/game, chose inclusion for Charlotte in it’s then very elite list of cities supported by the app/website. In no time at all we’ve seen local/independent business are getting in on the Foursquare e-gold rush. We’ve already covered UNC Charlotte, so here are the first three to emerge that aren’t at the University.
@ Big Daddy’s Burger Bar: Come by Big Daddy’s to redeem your Mayor reward! Rewards are subject to change.
@ Blynk Organic: If it’s after 2pm, show that you’ve checked in on Foursquare & get a free pastry with any coffee or hot tea purchase!
What’s interesting about these businesses, and ultimately what I think is interesting about Foursquare (or any other location based social network for that matter), is the clever design in which they are collecting consumer data. It’s smart on the behalf of Foursquare to offer this data as incentives for Charlotte businesses to participate with their start-up and it’s smart of businesses to use this same data to really target their core audience. By offering almost predominantly smart phone available service they’re already targeting a cross section of society with disposable income. Business and Foursquare makes sense but it feels like, and perhaps it’s because it’s still so new, like Foursquare has forgotten about the same audience they and the businesses are after: the end user, the proverbial “urban explorers”.
That said, all I want for Charlotte Foursquare Christmas 2009 is:
- I need more of something when I check in some place. I want to be able to click on the name of a location and pull up their webpage, or even cooler, some sort of multi-media. Click on a location that is a business and you get not a commercial but a showcase of crowd-sourced video content. Charlotte has a lot of unique places that I discover randomly and infrequently but really cherish. If I had a mini-tour guide in my hand, with data populated by people I follow, I’d be much more apt to step outside of my regular haunts. That’s the whole purpose of Foursquare, isn’t it? It’d really help people explore places within the Queen City. Also — If I can’t get streaming video, can I at least get TwitPic supported and some way to attach pictures to locations?
- Closer communication with the company when, say, they change the nuances of how you play the actual game part of Foursquare. For example: A couple of weeks ago I got a point when I checked in anywhere, now I only get points if I check in someplace that I’m not mayor. I’m not mad, I just felt like I would have liked to know this info since they’re pitching it as a game (thus the “Leaderboard”). All of the info I needed isn’t readily available. Googling “Foursquare rules” is a complete mess when you’re looking for information that isn’t about the sport and when I search the only search field they offer for “rules” the only thing I get is a listing for a hair salon. Not.intuitive.at.all. Can a girl get a Foursquare.com/blog post?
- Directory Services — If they’re going to be trying to garner the attention of businesses, HELLO you should tell people WHAT businesses they can choose from. What good are coupons if no one knows where they can be used in their area?!
- Google Street View support — I think this goal is too lofty for Foursquare if I assume it’s on the same hardware options they have now. Street View would be such a battery suck that either everyone would hate it or no one would use it. I think phones will have to evolve more before this can be realized. It’s still stimulating to think about!
- Friends Integration — I want to be able to communicate easier with my friends. I can “shout” to everyone I play with but I can’t DM anyone if they don’t have Twitter.
- Put LOCATION in location-based! I want to see who is in a radius of the area I’m in so I can meet up with people! I want to be able to control in my privacy settings who’s radius I show up within most importantly.
- Badges — So, you get badges because you check in places that have been tagged via the web with a certain keyword a certain amount of times, with a certain number of the opposite sex, etc. When I create a new location, which earns me points, I have no options to tag the venue. This pretty much makes the badges, which could be a fun feature, pretty much the most anticlimactic feature of this “game”. The real value in the iPhone app is seeing where my friends are and finding new, trendy venues or quality cultural cuisine. Badges make me go “Oh, neat.” when I get them but I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to be motivated to get them and I’m not. I am highly motivated by a Foursquare exclusive deal though, I will say that. Maybe I just need a badge to strive for called “Exclusive” for earning the most mayoral deals or something.
- Pinging - I’d like to be able to set a ping to trigger when a friend checks in at a certain location without having to turn on pings for that person and get every.single.notification.for.every.place.they.go. I like my friends but somewhere you have to draw the line. LOL For example: I know that if I see a group of people I know check in at Jackelope Jacks on a weeknight that I can stop by and see my friends sing and hang out during karaoke. I don’t need to know when one person is all up on Lantana or checked in @ Pinch Mobile every time they’re driving peanut to his chess lessons.
- Foursquare for B2B- For businesses to business operations Foursquare has potential. For example: A small parcel delivery company could have their own webportal where they follow only a certain number of delivery drivers who check in at every place they stop instead of calling in to dispatch. Geo location would keep employees honest about where they are when they check in if they are checking in as they’re supposed to. Foursquare already has the data and is recording the metrics of their users. Heck, it presents some of the data & metrics they collect to the user, imagine the extent of data quality you can get if you’re a business and willing to pay for it! Again, good for businesses, ingenious for Foursquare. These folks would substantially help build the infrastructure of Charlotte’s Foursquare maps &locations as well. This segways into:
- Lists — I hate to say it because dividing people you know into groups is kind of cliche but I’d love to privately be able to see only where a certain list of people is at any time. If you follow any significant number of people it becomes difficult to figure out who is where. Foursquare’s time contingent approach to updates doesn’t help me figure out who is at a party or location. If they check in over a couple of hours, it gets confusing. In the business sector lists could be fantastic for managing any number of remote employees, logging time spent on-site at client offices by measuring time in between check-ins, etc. The value for the logistics field is pronounced and Charlotte is an inter-modal transportation hot bed. Think of how activists could even manage themselves with Foursquare if they had the hardware. Flash mobs?