Mayor of Simpleton

September 28th, 2009 10 Comments

XTC Oranges and LemonsLately, I’ve been playing with foursquare, the latest shiny object among early adopter types.

Foursquare is another location-based service, but it’s also a game that encourages you to check-in when you go places to earn badges and the coveted mayorship of a location.

The geo-geek in me likes the location bits, and the latent gamer likes the game mechanics. We’ve put a lot of thought into reputation and its game mechanics as applied to work networks over the last month. We even code-named the effort 1up. I <3 that name, but it’ll never fly.

So, Foursquare is right up my alley: shiny object, geolocation, gaming.

But I’m having issues getting into it.

This was the way Twitter went for me too, so maybe that’s fine. I think the biggest reason right now is that foursquare puts in stark black and white how dull my life really is.

Foursquare comes from the mind of one the guys who started Dodgeball years ago and sold it to Google, Dennis Crowley, and like Dodgeball before it, has its roots in NYC. It caters to people who co-work in coffee houses by day and club by night, moving all around the city, making connections with a large circle of friends.

Sounds like the life of a 20-something in NYC. Portland actually has a similar population, maybe with less clubbing and more coding, but similar enough.

I am not the target demographic for this service. In stark contrast, I work from home and spend very few hours of the week checked-in at other places. Therefore, even if I could remember to check-in with Foursquare, my list of check-ins would be so tiny that I could never win any badges. Although, I would be the mayor of AppsLab Portland.

I hear you though. This should be an opportunity to get out and see stuff, which is true. I still have trouble remembering to check-in, but here comes a cool twist.

Foursquare has a program for businesses to list their foursquare-related deals. Program is a bit grand. Right now, it’s a list, but this represents a pretty big step for geo-services, bridging the online activity with meat life rewards, e.g. mayor deals.

Some businesses have taken advantage already, and as foursquare grows, expect more.

Competition is coming soon too from Twitter, which is set to launch its own location-aware features. Location is probably a year or so away from mainstream adoption, if it ever gets there, but I expect to see some cool stuff emerge quickly based on Twitter’s location features, no doubt including foursquare, which already uses Twitter’s API for announcing check-ins.

I’ll be watching intently, even if I’m not participating because as with many things, I see potential for location services within the enterprise. Greater potential than for consumer services because of that layer of trust.

So, is foursquare in your town? If so, have you tried it? Do you care? Any general thoughts on location services you’d like to share? Anything at all.

Find the comments.


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10 Responses to “Mayor of Simpleton”

  1. oraclenerd Says:

    I don't have an iPhone…yet, so I can't play. I have been reading a lot about it lately however and it seems pretty cool. Can't remember who I was reading…but they became mayor of some hotel.

    Back in my twenty-something days, I would have been Mayor of 20th Drive had this been around all those years ago.

    I agree with you though…if anything, it would really just show how much I don't do anything.

  2. Jake Says:

    It's not iPhone only. They support a bunch of smartphones and have a mobile browser version of their site too.

    I think it has potential, but as with other geolocation services, I have trouble remembering to update.

  3. jpiwowar Says:

    I was all stoked to try this when I first heard about it a while back, but discovered that Pittsburgh didn't even rate coverage. You think *your* life is dull. ;-)

    Maybe I'll pick it up once my move to Vancouver is done, and see how un-hip I can be there.

  4. Jake Says:

    I found that out about Pittsburgh when I was out your way. A bit surprised, but not really. It might actually be a good way to find stuff in a new city.

  5. John E. Bredehoft (Empoprises) Says:

    I joined Foursquare in a “blame Scoble” moment (he had written a post expressing the opinion that Foursquare might be the next big thing after Twitter). Although I'm not mobile enough to earn badges, I have become the Mayor of a couple of places in the Inland Empire that I frequent.

    The test I'm looking forward to, however, is Oracle OpenWorld. How many Mayors of Moscone Center will we have during that week?

    As for FourSquare vs. Gowalla, it depends upon your personal circumstances. If you live in an area that's not covered by FourSquare, then Gowalla is your choice. But if you don't have an iPhone, then you have to go with FourSquare.

    My FourSquare user name, by the way, is Empoprises.

  6. Jake Says:

    It definitely has potential, and I'm interested to see how it plays out, especially once Twitter releases their geo features.

    You can only have one Mayor at a time, and it's over a 60-day period. So, it's possible no one at OOW will attain its mayorship. The BA is pretty heavy with early adopters, so that wouldn't surprise me. Maybe we should check-in by individual session rooms instead.

  7. jpiwowar Says:

    I was all stoked to try this when I first heard about it a while back, but discovered that Pittsburgh didn't even rate coverage. You think *your* life is dull. ;-)

    Maybe I'll pick it up once my move to Vancouver is done, and see how un-hip I can be there.

  8. Jake Says:

    I found that out about Pittsburgh when I was out your way. A bit surprised, but not really. It might actually be a good way to find stuff in a new city.

  9. John E. Bredehoft (Empoprises) Says:

    I joined Foursquare in a “blame Scoble” moment (he had written a post expressing the opinion that Foursquare might be the next big thing after Twitter). Although I'm not mobile enough to earn badges, I have become the Mayor of a couple of places in the Inland Empire that I frequent.

    The test I'm looking forward to, however, is Oracle OpenWorld. How many Mayors of Moscone Center will we have during that week?

    As for FourSquare vs. Gowalla, it depends upon your personal circumstances. If you live in an area that's not covered by FourSquare, then Gowalla is your choice. But if you don't have an iPhone, then you have to go with FourSquare.

    My FourSquare user name, by the way, is Empoprises.

  10. Jake Says:

    It definitely has potential, and I'm interested to see how it plays out, especially once Twitter releases their geo features.

    You can only have one Mayor at a time, and it's over a 60-day period. So, it's possible no one at OOW will attain its mayorship. The BA is pretty heavy with early adopters, so that wouldn't surprise me. Maybe we should check-in by individual session rooms instead.

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