February 20, 2010

On Foursquare

Filed under: Culture,Social Media — Emily Reeves @ 9:07 am

What is the point of Foursquare?  This social media location game is being billed as the next Twitter.  The application launched last March, and after a year of talk in social media circles, the New York Times has caught on and published an article about it.  This must mean it has finally reached its tipping point.  So, what is it and what is the point?

According to the site, Foursquare “is a cross between a friend-finder, a social city-guide and a game that rewards you for doing interesting things.”  Well, that explains it.  To put it more plainly: Foursquare is a social media application that allows for users to share their current location (businesses, restaurants, services) and offer tips about that location for other users.  For each check-in, a user is given points.  If you are the user that checks in the most at a particular location, you are deemed the “mayor” of that location (a title that can be stolen by the next person who checks in more frequently than you).  Some businesses are even giving “mayor discounts.”  Users can also be granted “badges” for doing interesting things at interesting places.  Yes, this is very vague.  I don’t exactly understand the badges yet, but per the Foursquare site:

“Badges are little rewards you earn for doing checking-into interesting places.  For example, staying out late on a school night or frequenting too many karaoke bars.  We’re constantly adding new badges and would love to hear your suggestions.

“A lot of our badges are tied to venue “tags”.  People use tags to describe the places on foursquare (e.g. jukebox, pool table, fireplace, pizza, etc)  Without giving away too much, here’s a few suggested tags you can add to your favorite places to help unlock badges :  airport, college, douchebag, food truck, frat, gallery, gym, karaoke, movie theater, photobooth, pizza, playground, socialite, sorority, tourist, etc.”

The honor of badges has even spawned an offline business called Nerd Merit Badges (brilliant!) that recently received approval from Foursquare to sell these badges for people to wear on their clothes, backpacks, etc. (there is even a velcro sash for attaching badges your laptop).  I am starting to see how this could be fun.  But, I am a bit of a nerd, too.

Admittedly, I haven’t used Foursquare much.  Yet.  I signed up when I first read about it;, but in the beginning, the cities were limited to only larger markets.  And although I could have still used it in Little Rock, it just felt pointless since no one else was really using it around me yet.  Recently, the service opened up to every city and we started to see some Little Rock users popping up.  So I spent some time checking it out.

The more I poked and prodded Foursquare, it first seemed that in order for Foursquare to be relevant, the user must route their updates through their Twitter feeds – a place where everyone is already hanging out.  But then I realized that the benefit of Foursquare over Twitter is that you can do a location search to find information about the place that you are or want to go.  Wait, isn’t that how we use Yelp, too?  Oh, but Yelp doesn’t have that game aspect and the nerdy-cool badges.  Ok.  So, I need Twitter, Foursquare and Yelp?!

Then, on top of it all, thieves are tapping into Foursquare to learn when we are home and when we are not?  Do we really need all of this?

For those of us who like to share our experiences and let others learn from our experiences: yes, we will use each and every one of these services.  For now.  Until the next iteration comes along and ties it all together and adds a new aspect.  We do this because it fun.  Because we like to help others out.  And because we are nerds.  But that is cool, right?

And that is the point of Foursquare: sharing, having fun, and giving the nerds something else to do.

Foursquare, here I come.

February 19, 2010


Filed under: Advertising,That's Just Cool — Emily Reeves @ 12:51 pm

This has been online for a while and posted to this site before, but since it always makes me smile I thought it was worth dusting off again today.  Enjoy.

February 16, 2010

Our Digital White House

Filed under: Current Events,Technology — Emily Reeves @ 12:01 pm

Continuing its impressive use of technology last week, the White House announced that the President’s Economic Report would be available for free download on electronic book readers:

“As part of White House’s commitment to make government more accessible, the Economic Report of the President is now available as an eBook for your Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble nook, Sony Reader and a number of other devices. We are always looking for ways to bring people closer to their government through new technology.”

The @whitehouse tweet:

“A first: Curl up by fire w/ the Economic Report of President on Kindle, nook, Sony Reader.”

This White House has done more to engage the public in its processes than any other before it: Twitter, blogging, Facebook, an iPhone app, and now books for ereaders.  They have embraced this era of transparency and opened the doors for everyone to enter.  Regardless of political affiliations or presidential popularity, the effort must be applauded.

February 8, 2010

Was Pepsi So Smart, After All?

Filed under: Advertising,Current Events,Social Media — Emily Reeves @ 3:56 pm

Just a quick thought.  A few days ago, we were all patting Pepsi on the back for being different and for recognizing the power of social media when it was announced that they were abstaining from the Super Bowl advertising orgy this year and instead launching a socially conscious social media campaign.

Today, when the ratings for the Super Bowl were released we find that with 106 million viewers, it was the most watch telecast EVER.  So, was Pepsi smart to sit this one out?

The Social Super Bowl

Filed under: Advertising,Current Events,Social Media — Emily Reeves @ 3:47 pm

There was a Super Bowl gathering at my abode, and in between cooking, conversation and conviviality around the Saints, we Googled, blogged and surfed the social networks.  Because we work in the business, our web use centered around the Super Bowl advertising.  And while most commercials were disappointing, there were some stood out from the overdone guy humor that was abundant this year.  I am not going to get into my opinion of what advertising was good, bad or ugly – you can find more than enough commentary about that here, here and here.  I want to talk about is the morphing of the event into an online social experience.

Watching the Super Bowl has always been a social event: friends gather, eat, drink, boo and cheer. The advent of social media made our parties grow exponentially over the last couple of years as we interacted with those we knew online in addition to those watching the game with us in person. Last year, 12% of Super Bowl viewers were online during the game, according to Mashable. But this year, rather than having to search out the pertinent discussions on Twitter and Facebook separately, communities have developed around areas of interest, be it sports, food or advertising.  Hashtags are now used more consistently, making search for relevant commentary outside those communities easier, too.  With these community hubs and hashtag prevalence, our online interactions have gone from just the people we know (and the people they know) to introductions to people, content and views we might never have stumbled upon before.  And just when we thought we couldn’t be more connected to the world.

I didn’t want the Super Bowl fun to end last night. In years past, I have only watched the Super Bowl for the commercials, and even then become bored by the second half. Last night was different, it was bigger and it felt like my world expanded just a little bit more.  And that is always a good thing for the curious being that is me.

For fun, here is my favorite commercial of the night.  Although, as it turns out, it has been around for a few months, last night was my first viewing.

February 7, 2010

Live Blogging Super Bowl 2010

Filed under: Advertising — Emily Reeves @ 4:56 pm