Posts Tagged ‘foursquare’

Whether it’s on Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook, Google or some other mobile check in platform, if you’re a business owner, there’s no way in hell you should ever be checking in to your own business. Why?

It’s lame.

You’re there everyday. Say hello to us, comment on our check ins. But quit stealing our thunder.

Check ins. Highly social. Very much a game. I fight other users for my dukedoms on Yelp. And it’s cool, cuz we’re on a level playing field. But the minute a business has its owner or one of the employees as the duke, mayor, whatever other “winner” of the game, I stop checking in. And when I stop checking in, I stop telling my friends where I’m frequenting the most. It’s cool to be the most “regular” of regulars at the shops I love. It’s shitty when I have to compete with business owners, employees and anyone else that has an ulterior motive. And frankly, as innocent as it may seem, I put it in the “black hat” social media tactic category.

So if you’re in the habit. Please stop. A better alternative? Become a player yourself. Check in to the businesses you love… but here’s the real kicker… make sure they’re ones you aren’t affiliated with. Then you’re one of us, we trust you and we’re all better off.

I never fully chomped on the Foursquare bait that some of my Calgary online counterparts have so fondly adopted.  The idea is good, but it only seemed partially developed.  With not much more than check ins to entice me to participate, and no solid crew of friends who were using it as well, I pretty much left location based apps like Foursquare for others to explore for now.

About three weeks ago, I was formally introduced to Yelp.  The site was on my radar of things to check out, I just hadn’t gotten that far down my list yet.  I’m thankful it was bumped up my priority pole.  Yelp is a service I’ve really been able to sink my teeth into.  Those missing pieces from Foursquare I mentioned? Yelp is my cake with extra frosting.

What is it about this site that I like so much?  Well, the first is the reviews.  The writer in me loves the fact that I can put my creativity to work in the places I choose to review on the site.  The socializer in me enjoys being able to connect with other ‘Yelpers’ on the site to compliment each other’s reviews, share and discuss various topics on the conversation boards and find new and interesting people to befriend.  And my inner explorer is already making notes on places to try next (Thai Nong Khai, Lloyds Roller Rink, John’s Breakfast and Lunch to name a few).

There’s also the fact that Yelp seems to draw out the type of people who always know where the good spots are in town.  Most of us probably have one or two people in our networks that we could ask questions like ‘where’s the best Italian food in town?’ or ‘what cool places are there to take my out of town guests?’  Yelp is giving me even more sources to answer those questions.  It’s much easier to be ‘in the know’.

Yelp also has good activity in a lot of major centres all over North America, so whether I’m looking to keep things fresh in my own backyard or want to guarantee a good experience while I’m visiting another city, this site has the community component that earns my trust on what its users are recommending.

My vote is we’ll see more models like Yelp this year and next as the line between online and offline continues to blur.  So until Foursquare, Gowalla, or any of the likes can find a way to cover all of the bases that Yelp does, or do something even better, I shall Yelp on!

I hate that thing!  Yep.  I hate Foursquare.  When I first heard about it I thought it was kind of neat.  When I saw the opportunity associated with it I thought it was brilliant.  But what’s made me hate Foursquare is the useless updates coming out of it on Twitter.  They’re everywhere and they add no value to me.  None.  I don’t care if you’ve just checked in at 1410, or you become the mayor of Blockbuster.  You care about that.  Not me.  I also don’t care about where you are, unless we happen to be going to the same place… but that’s more fun if it’s planned or if I bump into you by surprise or hear about a tweetup.  If you just “checked in at the Ship and Anchor” it’s probably not going to entice me to go.

The brilliant part of Foursquare is the ability to give the social network of its users discounts or special deals.  One post I read last year said that the potential of Foursquare was in a scenario such as this:

Wendy checked in at Good Earth.  Looks like she’ll be staying for awhile.  If any of Wendy’s friends come and check in at the same Good Earth location, they’ll get a free muffin when they buy a large coffee.

That’s the brilliant part.  That part needs to make it’s way into the Twitter update.  Because otherwise there’s no point to the update.  None at all.  I could just go look on Foursquare to see where people checked in, or see if they’ve checked in on Google.  Right now, Foursquare updates on Twitter are akin to the hashtag spam that some fundraisers have attempted, or the “paste this into your Facebook status if you support cancer” updates or the “what colour is your bra… don’t tell the boys!” style statuses.  They’re useless and spammy without something behind them.

Step it up folks.  Foursquare has a lot of potential.  The use of Twitter with it also has potential.  But like everything else, think before you tweet and add some value, not just more racket.

… I choose to pay less attention to those who get noisier and add less value to my day.

In the past, I’ve said that the thing I love most about the internet is the ability to create my own experience, like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel.  I can follow those I want to keep up with on Twitter, I can create my own daily paper of blogposts with feedly, I can hide the game playing updates from certain applications on Facebook… my experience online really is a direct result of the effort I put into personalizing it and creating value for myself from the content produced by others.

With Twitter specifically, tools like Tweetdeck allow me to further segment the people I follow and weed out tweets I’m not particularly fond of hearing much about.   I use the Groups feature to segment those I’m following into topics.  For example, I’ve got a group for “core” which are those I correspond with regularly, “social media” for users who typically talk about social media, a couple of search columns to keep tabs on specific hashtags and topics, and then the usual @replies and DMs columns.

Customizing the users in each of these columns is an ongoing task to keep them relevant.  I’m always adding and subtracting people from these without turning them off completely.  So when all of their recent tweets are updates from FourSquare… well, that’s not really why I’m on Twitter.  That adds no value to me.  And so I change the direction of my adventure… actually I keep it more on track to the information I want to know about, but tuning such users out of my main view.

There are so many different ways to use such tools, and so many different goals that people have.  So with that, I think in order to get the most out of any of these platforms, it’s important that we each define how it is we want to use them, what we expect to gain from them and how much effort we’re each willing to put in to get the outcome we want.

What do you think?  Have you attempted to customize your online experience?  What rules do you participate by?