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Foursquare is F#*&ed

Foursquare is F#*&ed

R.I.P Foursquare 2009-2010

Facebook, the 500 million member gorilla the room, announced its deals feature for places last week. After I spent a shopping trip using and loving enjoying this feature, I predict Foursquare, Gowalla, and their like will not last too much longer.

When I went shopping this weekend, I remembered I heard something about a deal when you checked into the GAP on Facebook. Let me be clear: I hate Facebook, and I hate checking into places. But if I know checking in will save me a few bucks, I will totally go for it because it provides me value.

I loaded up Facebook, and suddenly I’ve got a list of stores in the mall, some with little golden tickets offering me deals when I check in. I load of the venues and I can see what the deal is before I check in. I planned the rest of my shopping trip around Facebook’s little golden tickets.

Then, when I used a coupon, Facebook posts on my wall that I got a deal. Now my friends can see that there are savings to be had, and then they’ll want them too. Pure. Fucking. Genius.

This is game, set and match. My massive list of Facebook friends just saw I saved 20% at Macy’s and H&M and are free to like and comment on that. Facebook Deals are moving to national brands quickly, something Foursquare has struggled with. Mom and Pop Stores on Foursquare or the like are probably already on Facebook, and it’s easy as hell to set up a deal. If you’ve got 500 Facebook fans, and only 40 Foursquare users, where are you going to go?

Any location based service that wants to stay alive needs to do something big, bold, and exciting. No more meaningless virtual badges. No more check-in deal guessing games. Provide real value to people. Otherwise, the foot of Mark Zuckerberg will crush every other service that tries.

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What’s the point of Foursquare Badges?

What’s the point of Foursquare Badges?

There is no value in Foursquare badges.  Badges provide no immediate or long term value to users, they don’t tell anything about your skills, and aren’t even actual things.  Sure they look cute, and they are fun to earn in the moment, but what do they do for you besides show off you use a location service?

Location services need to figure out something beyond badges if they want users to keep using them.  We see some value with deals for check-ins and mayorships, but there’s not nearly enough of that.  We need more of those real things rather than worthless images we unlock.

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What would you do for a Foursquare Badge?

What would you do for a Foursquare Badge?

MTV and Foursquare GYT Badge

Yesterday, MTV and Foursquare they were teaming up as part of MTV’s Get Yourself Tested campaign.

The idea behind the campaign is that when you check into a clinic, you get the GYT badge (seen above).  It also enters you in a sweepstakes to win a bunch of crap.

People already check into the dumbest places on Foursquare, and STDs are on the rise because people can’t keep their pants on when they use Facebook. Still, are people that interested in getting a small virtual graphic to display?  There is no real value behind any Foursquare badge.  Do people really need to have one displaying that they got tested to STDs?  I understand collecting things, but collecting virtual badges that will never have any monetary value doesn’t make sense to me.

I realize there shouldn’t be any shame or stigma behind getting tested.  Anyone can get tested, and we should focus on disease prevention as a society.  But is a Foursquare badge and a contest really going to solve this problem?

Also, what if someone’s results are positive?  Now someone has to carry a constant Foursquare badge of shame every time they use Foursquare.  It’s a virtual Scarlet Letter.

What do you think of this promotion?  Does it make you feel weird and icky, or do you think it’s a good idea?  Will you be getting this Foursquare badge?  I want to know if I’m going to be getting a Foursquare badge every time I go to the doctor.

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Foursquare, stop leeching my Twitter Network!

I hate when people link their online accounts because I hate redundancy.  If I see the same message from you on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, I know you have no clue who you are writing for.  Even worse, you’ve just wasted ten seconds of my life reading the same boring message about your bacon cheeseburger cravings.

While there is some aspects of linking that are debatable, the other aspect of account linking I hate is when other services start leeching off of that network to build theirs.  Case in point: Foursquare.

When I signed up for Foursquare, I linked my Facebook and my Twitter accounts to Foursquare.  I was dumb and naive.  I had no idea what would eventually happen.

While I appreciated the ability to find new people to connect with quickly, I soon realized that I get a lot of messages from people who I follow or follow me on Twitter that I don’t know outside of 140 characters.  I can’t vouch for these people the 23 hours of the day they aren’t sending messages into the internet.

Foursquare defaults its privacy settings to share your e-mail and phone number with the people you designate as friends on its service.  While that could work well for people you know in real life, it’s scary for the multitude of people on there you aren’t as familiar with.  I like my Twitter friends, but I don’t need them calling me up everyday.

It boils down to this simple question: Do I know you in real life?  If you can answer that as yes, then I might consider having you as a Foursquare friend.  If the answer is maybe or no, just leave me alone.  I’ll be better off not knowing when you check into a strip club.

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Top Five Tweets I Hate - Part Two

So, last Monday I had a lot of fun with the Top Five Tweets I Hate to See, so I figured, let’s beat a dead horse until it’s glue.  This is my list of common tweets I saw this past week and what drove me nuts:

  1. Good Morning - Sometimes it’s just those two words. Sometimes it’s “Good morning and have a great amazing awesome day!”  Rarely it’s “Good Morning.  Today is going to suck.”  Either way, it’s morning and we remember you are here even if you didn’t tweet good morning.  So stop it.
  2. Coffee - Another frequent morning tweet.  We’re all zombies before 9 am and we have caffeine.  But being a zombie doesn’t mean we all tweet the same thing in the same tone, as if we’re craving the delicious flesh of the living.
  3. Foursquare without any Information - I see a lot of “I’m at CVS.” or “I’m at Wal-Mart.” tweets.  Are you asking for the entire internet to try and find you?  Is there something we need to know about why you are at these places?  I want relevant information or entertainment, not random locations.
  4. iPhone Rumors - Most people on Twitter have some obsession with gadgets and gizmos, and the iPhone is king of them all.  However, we need to accept that Apple will let us know about it’s products are ready.  Blasting every rumor or hypothesis will drive people to think you are a lunatic with nothing else to do.
  5. Anything with Justin Bieber - The boy has a lock on being a trending topic.  Don’t give him any more publicity, and please don’t give him any more musical credibility.

What tweets are you all hating this week?

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Foursquare Burnout

I found out today I lost one of Foursquare Mayorships.  While my heart was saddened for the slightest of moments, I instead realized how little I am using Foursquare.

There’s a lot of potential in Foursquare.  But that’s all it is for me right now, potential.  Sure, it’s nice to know where my friends are and if they are nearby, but the area I live in is spread out far and wide.  It’s not as much fun as finding out people are several miles away, rather than several blocks.

Another reason I’m burned out is the Foursquare app itself.  I use the iPhone app on an iPhone 3G.  Maybe it’s faster on the 3Gs, but the load time is a bit tedious for me.  I understand there will always be some time delay in coordinating the GPS with satellites high in the sky, but I want to just check in quickly, with as few clicks as possible.  Is that so much to ask?  Maybe there is some mystical app that checks in as fast as possible, but I haven’t found that app.

Regardless of the speed of check-ins, I just don’t frequent most local places enough to get any type of decent deal.  I live in suburban hell, which means on every street corner is a Wendy’s or a McDonald’s, not the type of places that have Foursquare deals.  And really, what would be more embarrassing than being the mayor of a Wendy’s and a Starbucks?

So, I’m bored with it, and I don’t see the point in the long term.  How can I get the mayorship to a place if I’m not wasting my life in the same place daily and some other loser is checking in just a little bit more?  I’ll keep using it when I think it’s useful or fun, but virtual points, badges and mayorships just aren’t worth the hassle.

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Social Media Will Not Save Your Business

I hate to say it, but it’s true.  Social Media, whether it’s your hip new Twitter account, your Facebook fan page, or your sweet Foursquare Check in deal, isn’t going to save your business.

Here’s the stickler.

Social media takes work.  Real work.  It’s not something that just happens because you put yourself on whatever network you’ve just heard about.  You have to put out consistently good information that people want to read.  You have to be constantly searching for new sources of inspiration for tweets and blog posts.  You need to respond to all the whiny customers who love or hate you.  You have to want to make it all work, even when your brain is tired and your kid is crying and you haven’t really slept in two weeks.

For most of us, we don’t get paid to take time out of our lives to use these tools.  We take another valuable minute where we could be working or relaxing to see what’s happening and what people are saying about us.

Your time is valuable.  You could be spending that time perfecting a recipe, fixing the flaws in your product, or maybe just taking a breather from the chaos.  Spending another minute trying to generate buzz about something that isn’t there isn’t going to help.

Focus on the fundamentals.  Is your product or service awesome?  If not, why?  Can you make it more awesome?  Once your basics are perfected, then move to social media.  Social media won’t help if your service is crappy.  People will just tell the whole internet it’s crappy.  And you don’t want the whole internet thinking poorly of you, do you?

Think of your business as a ladder.  Your basics, such as making consistent profits, are the first few rungs you cover.  Once you can climb those first rungs blindfolded, then you can move to making a social media presence.

Start too soon though, and you might just fall off the ladder to a horrific and painful death.

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Keep your Awkward Foursquare Check-ins at Home

I have a lot of friends on Foursquare.  It could be the people I hang out with, but we’re all there, sharing where we’re going and who we’re with and what we are doing.

Sometimes, it gets out of hand though.

Recently, my friends have been more outlandish with where they are checking in.  I’m not naming any names, but I’ve started seeing people checking into tattoo parlors, strip clubs, and places for personal grooming.  While I am glad to know I am not the only one with a hairy seedy underbelly to my life, I don’t see the point of sharing this stuff with the entire world.  I don’t need to know when you are adding a tramp stamp, paying to see some young ladies tramp stamp, or removing the hair off your tramp stamp.  If you’re a social media professional, you should know better, and I’m sure your clients don’t need to know that either.

What purpose does checking into places like these add besides making me feel better about my life?  The line between sharing over-sharing has always existed online; we now can find out where your kinky fancy strikes.

Given these incidents, here is my rule for FourSquare:  If I can tell Mom I went there without feeling embarrassed, I will check in there.

Let’s all try and follow that rule.  Don’t disappoint my Mom, and stop creeping me out.

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