Many people don’t know that Foursquare originated from a social media network called Dodgeball created in 2003 by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai. The duo formed Dodgeball to connect people so they can share their experiences at places like restaurants and stores. As Dodgeball began to grow, it was bought up by mega-giant Google in 2005. They tried to grow the site’s user base during the next year, anticipating success.
Well… guess what? It didn’t work. Due to the slow inner workings of Google and a lack of technology at the time to support geo-location based sites, it fizzled. So Crowly and Selvadurai went back to the drawing board rather disgusted at what transpired. During the next few years, they worked day and night on a spin-off of the first venture. They waited in the wings until Google’s non-compete passed, and in January 2009, they launched Foursquare.
Now, this new concept was launched at the South by Southwest interactive festival – the mecca of technology, video, film and music innovations. It was hailed the “Breakout App” by Mashable and other social media blogs. According to an article in Wired Magazine,
Having heard the news that Foursquare might be the next big thing, early adopters around the globe began clamoring for it to come to their city. Foursquare was quickly becoming the darling of the new media community.
What really set apart the launch of Foursquare versus Dodgeball was the fact that iPhones, Blackberries and Droids now used GPS. This allowed for an app that could more effectively be used cross-platform to automatically find where you are and list the people and places around you. The user can then check-in to places, battle to become the “mayor” of a location, like Starbucks or even an airport terminal, gaining discounts and rewards by some participating establishments. Users can also be awarded “badges” that are like pieces of flair (remember Office Space the movie?) to show what they have accomplished.
Hey, I have a bender badge, unlocked a Marc Jacobs free gift badge in Chicago and a super-user badge! I feel very important… at least to myself.
I don’t know what it is, but this app is addictive. I find myself compelled to check-in everywhere, especially when I’m traveling and bored. Hmm, when I’m bored I use the app the most. Is it a way to pass the time like a game? Or is it something that actually connects with people and places to help me build my network and learn about cool restaurants and bars?
Some say this app, much like Twitter and Facebook, play on a person’s vanity and ego, providing them with a gateway to express their own self-worth and imagined persona. Maybe so to a degree, but I think if it’s used to encourage personal connection and business opportunities, it may be of value. I have to admit, I am torn as to why I spend a second messing with this app, but I still do (going on about five months now).
My Foursquare Future
Will I stop using it or slow down like I have with this blog? Maybe, but I hope I remain engaged in both to keep in contact with my network and learn new things – some random and worthless and some extremely beneficial to me personally and professionally. If anyone is still listening out there and reading this blog, let me know what you think and post some comments on your experiences with Foursquare and other geo-location apps like Cause World, etc.
Your comment may just boost my self-worth and imagined persona!