How Foursquare should be using its potential

As a Social Media addict, I try to experience all of the platforms that I can. Foursquare is one of them that I use, but sometimes I find myself asking why it’s necessary at all.

For those that may not be familiar with Foursquare, it allows users to “check in” to where they are. For example, I frequently check in to my local gym, at which point friends of mine are notified of my location.

As I typed the previous sentence, I was notified that a friend of mine was at “hot-tub.” This unnecessary notification is just one reason why I sometimes get frustrated with Foursquare. Do I need to know that Betsy is at her hot-tub? Another notification that frequently annoys me is when I hear that John is at “John’s Palace.” Yeah, he lives there… I don’t really need to know about it everytime he walks into his front door. Sometimes, I’m notified that a friend is at their place of employment. Again, I expect them to be there. I don’t need the alert.

Instead of engaging with friends on the Social Media platform, I get the notification, ignore it, and get frustrated.

This is similar to why people have always been reluctant to join Twitter. The common argument is that people don’t need to know all of the little details that others tweet. The common theme: There are right and wrong ways to use Social Media. When used correctly, Foursquare can be both fun and useful.

I have said it before, and now I will say it again. The key to any social media platform is connecting businesses to consumers. Foursquare has huge potential to do that! A few days ago I checked into Coffee Culture and noticed that they were running a special for anyone that checked into their business on Foursquare. Spend ten dollars, receive five dollars off. It wasn’t a huge deal, but it definitely encouraged me to spend more money there.

My local Walgreens is currently running a promotion as well. Each time you check into the store, you get entered into a drawing for a 200 dollar gift card. It really does work. I will go to Walgreens instead of Walmart or any other store the next time I need something.

Foursquare needs to do more of this kind of promotion with businesses. How cool would it be if the app notified me every time I was within a certain proximity to a store running a special like that? I would go spend money at those stores, and I would use the app more.

I think Foursquare also needs to do a better job facilitating social gatherings between friends. I wish it would tell me when I was within a certain proximity from friends, not just at the same venue.

I want to love Foursquare, because it has such great potential, but I really need more people to begin using it before I can. I think the app needs to focus a little bit less on the competitive side of things, including the points you receive when checking in, the badges you unlock, and the mayor-ships of venues, and focus more on what it can actually do to help people. It needs to focus on promotions with businesses and facilitation of social meetups!

What would make you use Foursquare more often?

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About Jim Mignano

Jim Mignano is a young professional practicing and learning Public Relations in Rochester, NY. He is passionate about the possibilities that digital media provide and loves utilizing new platforms for a variety of functions. James' blog is about people and the technology they use. It's about communication and persuasion... the old and the new ways of doing things... the struggle between sticking to the tried, true recipes and experimenting with intuitive, innovative ideas. It's an extension and reflection of James himself: the convergence of ambition & ability.
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2 Responses to How Foursquare should be using its potential

  1. Mark Trova says:

    Foursquare doesn’t make sense to me, but I have to say this clarified how it can be more useful. When using social media, there is a fine line between using it correctly, using it too much, not enough, etc. I agree with what you suggested to make it more useful, something like Foursquare sounds like it functions best when it promotes and facilitates meetings, and the promotion at Walgreen’s seems like it is effective, for you at least. I think once more people start using it, just like Twitter, it will blow up.

    • jmignano10 says:

      You touch on a really important part, Mark… Without a large user population, even the best social media site wouldn’t be fun. There are a ton of really cool apps that I would love to use, but it would pretty much be posting things to the equivalent of a black whole. Nobody would see it, or at least nobody that I care about, because not enough people use the app. Luckily, I think Foursquare is only going to get more and more popular as more people join the smartphone revolution!

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