Tag Archives: Twitter

Foursquare… annoying, yet addictive

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.

The Difference
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.

My Foursquare profile page

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!


Is 12 seconds enough?

12seconds.tv logoDuring my “blogcation,” I read a blurb in PRWeek about this new social media tool called 12seconds.tv. It’s a Twitter-like platform that allows users to upload and share 12-second video snippets. I was intrigued by the tool and went to check it out. I thought to myself that this is probably another one of those fly-by-night social media tools that fizzles in a few months after the novelty has wears off. But the more I research this tool and how it’s being used, the more I think it may be of value.

Starbucks… social media junkies
It never ceases to amaze me how Starbucks continues to be on the forefront of nearly every social media tool out there. 12seconds.tv is a brand new tool, still in Beta, yet Starbucks has mastered it.

Starbucks Channel on 12seconds.tv

With a meek 62 followers, the behemoth coffee, latte and troubadour of tasty treats company is somehow evoking sweet 12-second messages from its fan base. They’re talking about everything from possible new brew ideas to how Satrbucks can make its menu healthier – and everything in between.

The one issue I have is that I could not find a link to the Starbucks Channel on its Web site. They have a link to their corporate site on the channel, but from what I can see, not one back to the social media platform.

Overall, I think the fact that they’re trying to utilize new and innovative platforms to communicate with their audiences is critically important. Starbucks should definitely be a model for how other corporations should approach creating conversations and interactions among their customers and stakeholders.

And they’ve also received three badges! What are badges? Well, they’re rights of 12seconds.tv passage. You can receive up to 24 different badges as you develop your channel. Although I haven’t completely figured them out, the site states that each badge, once received, unlocks cool features of the platform.

iPhone integration… no surprise
Even in Beta, the company has integrated with the iPhone by creating a 12Mail Video Messenger application. The app let’s users take video and upload it to the site on the fly, with the ability to add text and comments much like Facebook or Flickr. It even allows for you to draw from your contact base on Twitter and Facebook to show status updates, as well as push notifications to them, and yourself, by linking the accounts.

Future of 12seconds.tv… we’ll see
This new platform meshes Twitter and Facebook together quite well, but it’s future may be up in the air. It has all of the aspects of a great social media tool. It allows for interaction via streaming video, commenting, easy-to-find topical threads and its integration with Facebook and Twitter. It also has already created a nifty iPhone app that allows the user to easily become part of the conversation.

I’m sure we’ll see the typical useless, and sometimes unsavory posts, we’re all used to seeing on so many other social media platforms – but that’s expected. The question is, will 12seconds.tv be comprised of lame, boring posts? Or will it rise to the occasion, offering businesses, organizations and personal brands a place to communicate and flourish?

Only time will tell…

Are PR pros keeping up with the times?

In the past, PR professionals were slow to adopt new techniques – from new ways to pitch journalists to press release styles. We were, and still are to an extent, resistant to change. We’d better be ready to not only float, but sail forward as communications leaders, especially with the immense changes in technology occurring.

Although we once distanced ourselves from new trends and techniques, we made sure to not make that mistake with the advent and development of Social Media. I can recall at the 2007 PRSA International Conference in Salt Lake City a fervent effort to take on the challenges and opportunities Social Media could provide PR pros. Continue reading

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