“You are now the Mayor of Starbucks!” Those are exciting words to read. Or at least they are to me. The words I don’t like to read are “you’ve been ousted as a mayor.” I’ve only been participating in the online interactive game of foursquare for a couple of months now. I’ve known about it for a year or so, but I wasn’t an early adapter. Don’t know why, but I’m hooked now. It taps into my dormant sense of competitiveness and my love of going places.
What is foursquare all about? Honestly, I have a hard time explaining it to people. It is a location service-based social networking game where you check-in at locations. Check-ins can take place anywhere: restaurants, shops, libraries, offices, airports, and museums to name but a few. You are connected to other people you select and if you want to you can compete with them for points or mayor-ships. You can even earn badges. Being a Girl Scout, I’m digging the badges, but you’ll never know how or when you’ll get one. You can share tips about the places you go for other people. I’m using it to find new places to go, mainly to eat. In fact, I hold the mayorship of “fine” establishments such as McDonalds and Steak ‘n Shake, but I’m also the mayor of my library, Kroger, Target and some more places I go on a regular basis.
What’s the value of foursquare? I think its value still has to be developed some. I do not know whether or not information is collected and analyzed, or if it even can be, to detect patterns in people’s behavior that could provide valuable information not only for marketers, but also for public policy planners. Foursquare could give a snapshot of what services people are utilizing and when as well as their demographics. I don’t think that businesses have yet tapped into the potential of foursquare, for instance by identifying and targeting players with special promotions, or cultivating new players to patronize their businesses. I think foursquare is a great opportunity for businesses and people to connect. After all, we’re wired to connect and share.
Now back to plotting my campaign to retake my mayor-ship at my local Starbucks…

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