Who’s in Your Gang?



I had a weird brain wave crossing with Robert Scoble last week.

Basically, I’ve been trying to find value in FourSquare, the hot new web app on the block, that launched this Spring at SXSW, where any self-respecting hot web app gets its initial hotness.

If you care, FourSquare seems like it might be interesting. It’s a geo-based app with some interesting gaming aspects, which I’m very curious to explore.

Unfortunately, you’ll have a bit of a lonely expedition if you’re using it in a city without many other users, i.e. anywhere other than NYC, LA, the Bay Area. There’s an interesting meat-life tie in with FourSquare that’s developing and will be neat to watch evolve.

But again, if you don’t have a bunch of people nearby, you won’t see any value. Portland’s a pretty early adopter place, and I’ve been getting more friend invitations lately, indicating that I may soon be able to enjoy the fun of FourSquare. I thought last week about posting a missive about the short list of early adopter friends you expect to find on any legit social app/platform.

Anyway, Scoble’s post about the gang of 2,000 is pretty much what I had in mind, minus the hype piece. It reminds me of his effect on FriendFeed back in February 2008, and each time there’s a new shiny object to play with, you’ll get the same gang effect.

Every single social app/platform includes the ability to import (steal) your contacts from other existing apps, via your email accounts or other apps like Facebook, Twitter and the like. Legit services (like FourSquare) go the extra mile to implement OAuth support and Facebook Connect to let you know they’re not mining your credentials. One up for them.

This process helps spread the new app, and it also acts as a vetting process for new users, e.g. if no one I know is using the app, I’m less likely to trust it. I’m not a pro blogger or influencer, so by the time I get to a new service, it should have an early adopter I trust using it already.

Tangent time, trust always comes up when I talk about a key components for advancing the intertubes, and this is one argument I have against the Semantic Web (or Web 3.0, ack); I don’t implicitly trust smart algorithms and machines. I need to remember to add that to a thread Billy Bagpipes and I have on Connect.

Anyway, I know many of you are early adopter types, willing to kick the tires on apps to see if they’re worthwhile.

Who do you expect to see there in order to legitimize the effort, i.e. who’s in your gang?

Find the comments.




  1. Pretry much all the big names, Robert Scoble, Louis Gray, Rob Diana, Duncan Riley, Eddie Awad, that Jake guy and me (obviously).

    In fact, I am so promiscuous, pretty much anyone is welcome in my gang.

    Well, everyone apart from Gary Glitter.

  2. Ah, I did not know that obviously. I'm not very knowledgeable about news in general, especially from across the pond.

    Fail fail fail.

  3. Jake – you're right. People are quick to criticise and slow to say 'Thank you' so here goes.

    I've always enjoyed Louis Gray's blog and he played a big part in my adoption of FriendFeed and again, more recently, with Google Reader's social features.

    I also think there's an element of 'Clash on TOTP syndrome' too. The early adopters tend to be torn between the niche service (identi.ca, FriendFeed) making it successful and keeping it all to themselves as the world's best kept secret. Or maybe it's just me 🙂

  4. Yeah, I too like Louis' work and initially found him via FriendFeed.

    Re. Reader's social features, I'm not sold on them, especially since there's no API to surface them in my blog. Bit out of the norm for Google, so maybe it's a matter of time.

    Maybe your thoughts on the social features would make an interesting point/countpoint set for us 🙂 Ping me over email if you're interested.

  5. Nice gang…LOL That's really a gang of cats in that picture huh!
    Thanks for sharing that article its fun reading.


  6. Last night my kid, who just started 8th grade, called me over to his computer to show me something. Turns out one of his teachers is using geocaching for the class. So he poked around, and showed me there's a cache right near my work. Guess I'll have to borrow cube-mates iPhone…

    It was a bit surprising, as my work is 60+ miles from his school, and I had only mentioned the location to him once as we passed nearby on a freeway IIRC. Then again, he would remember something I've forgotten.

    Free beer – just what my 8th grader needs. Wife already freaked out by the idea of kids in middle school wandering around a so-so part of town trying to find caches.

  7. Oh boy, imagine all the nefarious side-effects to geocaching. I don't think that's what FourSquare does, although it's similar in intent, more like encouraging you to visit a place and become its Mayor or something. Haven't spent more than a couple minutes with it. We'll see if it takes hold as I get more friends.

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