Foursquare is history – it’s all about entertainment check-ins

I’ve been using Foursquare for quite a while now. I’ve converted other people to the service and espoused it’s value to clients and co-workers. I’ve come up with laundry lists of ways my clients could activate campaigns using the service (in the spirit of honesty, none of them have ever actually done it, although one client may have stolen my idea and given it to another agency to activate on their behalf).

I’ve also played with Loopt, MyTown, Gowalla, Google Latitude, BrightKite and a few others. And I think that regardless of what the media is saying, they’re probably all a waste of time.

The fundamental problem with Foursquare and these other services is that they are really only applicable to relatively few people. I know what you are going to say – over two million people use Foursquare. That’s pretty small when you think that Facebook is going to announce hitting 500 MILLION users next week.

Who is Foursquare really useful for?  People who are out and about, hanging out in places waiting for their friends to come find them. Most people I know who use it, and I’m including myself in this group, check-in everywhere they go but not places they are hanging out at.

Reading through my friends list tells me that my friends are at:

  1. A Vietnamese restaurant (okay)
  2. The irport (only useful if I am also at the airport – I’m not going to head out there to meet anyone)
  3. A baseball stadium (okay)
  4. A Mexican restaurant (okay)
  5. A clothing store (not useful)
  6. Their office (not useful. We aren’t going to meet up and hang out at your office. Also, if it’s a week day, I can probably assume you are at your office anyway)
  7. A deli (that was me, from earlier today – not useful)
  8. IKEA (not useful)
  9. The gym (not useful)
  10. Another office (still not useful)

So unless you are a young, out-on-the-town type person, who is constantly out, hanging out, waiting around for friends to find him or her (or looking for other friends), most of the value of Foursquare is wasted on you (I know, I know, being mayor of the local post office is cool and all, but really, is that where you want me to look for you?)

And that’s where entertainment check-ins come in. Right now I’m watching Role Models as I write this and I just “checked” into the show on Philo. Philo let’s you tell your social networks what you are watching.  Why is that better than Foursquare? Easy – most people watch WAY more TV than go out to places where they will be hanging out waiting for their friends to find them.

If the purpose of social media is to find and engage friends, colleagues, and strangers around some sort of common topic or interest, you are much more likely to do that while checked into a TV show or movie than while you are checking-in at CVS.  Check in to a movie, discuss with friends and maybe make some new ones.

A similar service, Get Glue, allows you to check-in to any TV show, music, book, movie, video game, celebrity (chatting about them, not actually being with them – although that app could be my next great idea), thinking about a topic or drinking wine.

While these new services are much smaller than Foursquare, and lacking a solid rewards system (like mayorship), they seem much more applicable to the masses than location-based services.

Let the battle begin!

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About Ezra Englebardt
Account planner, digital nerd, marketing guru, tweeter, facebooker, occasional blogger, cyclist, snowboarder, mountain biker, social media junkie and avid reader. CU-Boulder and Boston College alum. Frequent guest speaker in Boston-area universities.

3 Responses to Foursquare is history – it’s all about entertainment check-ins

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Foursquare is history – it’s all about entertainment check-ins « Hot Tub Crime Machine -- Topsy.com

  2. wendy says:

    I never heard of those services but they definitely make much more sense to me for my friends and family to share “valuable lessons” with me. And by “valuable lessons,” I mean the virtues of the Real Housewives or any program on Bravo, for that matter. How else would I manage to program and prioritize my DVR?

  3. Pingback: Foursquare: Flourishing or Fruitless? | Sociallogical

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