Category Archives: Foursquare

Social Media Is Still Relevant And Here Is Why

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Tinu Abayomi-Paul, web site promotion specialist, and author, is also the principal consultant of Leveraged Promotion, a website promotion company. Their specialty is bringing companies with an existing offline presence the local, national or international exposure they need to increase profitability, by leveraging the cost-effective tools available on the web.

In January 2014, Tinu was named one of the top 50 Industry Influencers by AGBeat. In February 2014 she was also awarded a Women’s Leader Fellowship by the Hot Mommas Project. In September 2012, Tinu is quoted in the CNN article: “Why Business Women are Flocking to Twitter”, as part of the CNN Leading Women showcase. In October 2012, Tinu was featured in TopRank’s yearly updated list of 25 Women Who Rock Social Media.  In June of that same year, Tinu was featured in AGBeat’s Business Leader Showcase. In December 2011, Liberated Muse named Tinu as one of the Top Ten Women in Social Media. Whew, that’s a lot of accolades!!

She is a woman in the know and an all around cool connector of people. I was able to catch up to her to get her thoughts on social media and where we are going in the social space.

Q- Why is social media relevant?

Social media is relevant because it provides a layer of communication and data in real-time, one that previously did not exist. In terms of customer feedback, focus groups and other types of research based on end user feedback, you can gather actionable data about a topic faster than ever before. As a marketing source, it helps democratize and facilitate word of mouth within a global context, at a cost low enough to even the playing field for small businesses.

Blogging, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other tools also give power to the individual on a level that hasn’t existed before. We may not all be using it that way yet – but the potential to be able to use your personal voice and opinion to affect change on this level is unprecedented. If you wanted the potential to reach the world with your voice, as little as ten years ago, your options were much more limited than they are today.

For example, if you checked into a hotel in 2002 and had a problem with customer service, you could ask for management’s help to resolve it, but had few other options. Depending on how much the hotel cared about your repeat business, and whether or not customer satisfaction was a primary goal, your voice might be heard by the hotel or it might not.

Armed with social media, companies are now not just marketing to you; they’re marketing to whatever your potential audience reach is. Now, a complaint isn’t just a complaint – it can go on record on Yelp or Foursquare, go viral on Twitter, or be permanently posted to a Google local or Facebook business page.

How do you use social media in your work?

One of my companies helps build marketing systems for small businesses, integrating search, social or reputation management with existing PR or other types of online or offline marketing. All of the activities that increase visibility for a company are more effective in synergy.

Q- What trends to you see in the upcoming year for social media?

1- More discerning choices about what we’re paying attention to – the problem now in social media is that there are too many channels, most of them repeating the same information, though sometimes in different formats. The younger users are enjoying tools like SnapChat, which deploys a shared image, video, drawing, etc for a set period of time, then destroys it.

We’re seeing the results of the backlash, with people opting out of Facebook and other new media channels indefinitely or for set periods of time. And yet you never hear anyone say “I have to quit Googling, it’s just too much.”

The question is: how do we respond to those trends as small business owners and social media professionals?

2- The maturation of the visual web trend. Clearly, the web is becoming increasing more visual, and much less text heavy before our eyes. With internet enabled TV and other devices like Roku that gets the video we view on the web on the big screen, the demand for content that can be consumed on the bigger screen is increasing as well. Early movers will benefit when this trend hits a peak. It may not happen this year but it is coming.

3- The web will be soon be everywhere – our refrigerators will be linked to the grocery store, and we might be able to update our list by sending a direct message in Twitter. At the leading edge of this right now is mobile. If your social content isn’t web enabled, you’re missing out on a lot of additional exposure.

Q- What is your best social media tip?

Start all of your social-related endeavors with research and clear goals. Why this channel? Who uses it? What competes with it? What do we hope to achieve? How will we know we’re successful? And most importantly, what do the people we want to reach want to hear from us on this channel? The data is out there and accessible. Or if you have some access to the community you want to grow with, just ask them what they want.

This post is edited and updated from the original version that appears on the All Things E blog.

SXSWi 2011 with Foursquare, Mashable & Women in Tech

Sxsw_me

I recently returned from my second year at the Interactive track of South by Southwest, often affectionately referred to as the “Spring Break for Geeks.”  SXSWi 2011 brought us exciting panels and events by thought leaders, innovators and presentations who represent the brightest minds in emerging technology. It is here where new digital works, mobile apps, video games and innovative ideas get rolled out to those of us who are always looking for the next “big thing”. As we converged on Austin Texas March 11 – 20, my first impression of SXSWi 2011 was how much it has grown from last year. With more venues and attendees than ever, this was a Geek Diva, Gadget Girl dream.  One of the hottest trends, by far, what the incorporation of Group Texting and I’m excited to see where this technology is going. Another highlight for me was getting a chance to interview some of the power brokers and power users that I only see or communicate with online.

I got a chance to talk to Dennis Crowley, CEO and Founder of Foursquare at the Pepsi Max Foursquare Playground.

I also caught up with Pete Cashmore, CEO Mashable, which by the way was named  the most buzzed about brand during SXSWi in a study by Ad Age  and I also got a chance to talk to Romany Malco who hosted Geek Games at the Mashable House.

But the real highlight for me, as always, is geeking out with the Geek Divas.  I got a chance to speak with a couple of of the veteran SXSWi attendees, Lynne d Johnson, Senior Social Media Strategist at R/GA and SXSWi panelist Shireen Mitchell, founder of the no-profit Digital Sisters/Sistas.  I also spoke with first timer Beverly Jackson, Director of Marketing and Social Media for The Recording Academy/The GRAMMY Awards along with returning attendee and marketing professional, Shannon Mouton about the diversity, or lack thereof at SXSWi 2011. 

Here is what they had to say about Blacks in Tech and Women in Tech at SXSWi 2011. 

Signs You Have Been Spoiled By Technology

I was always considered spoiled growing up.  Being the last of four girls will do that to you.  But, now to  find out I may be spoiled by technology… now that’s an eye opener! Here are 10 of the 21 Signs You Have Been Spoiled By Technology from PCWorld.com.  Funny how I can relate to so many of them…  how about you?

We are living in a geek’s paradise. We are so spoiled by our gadgets and the Internet that we expect everything to be automated, digitized, and customized, not to mention responsive to the swipe of a finger.

Technology has rewired our brains, altered our expectations, and, frankly, turned us all into cranks.

How do you know if this has happened to you? Look for the following 21 warning signs.

You know you’ve been spoiled rotten by technology when….

Never far away from our hands 1. You no longer complain about how slow, buggy, and crash-prone your PC is. Instead you complain about how slow, buggy, and crash-prone your smartphone is. And now you’re doing it in the checkout line at the supermarket.

2. You automatically assume that every screen is a touchscreen, but you have to touch them all just to make absolutely sure. This explains why you’re no longer allowed to enter Best Buy.

3. Someone else is named Mayor of McFatty Burgers in Foursquare before you are, and you wind up depressed for a week. Don’t worry, you’re still King of the Dorks. Would you like fries with that, Your Highness?

4. You waited in line for 24 hours and spent hundreds of dollars for the latest, greatest iPhone, yet you spend most of your time using it to simulate flatulence. Still, it could be worse–you might actually be that gassy.

5. Nothing is fast enough for you anymore. ATMs, TV remotes, microwave ovens–all now suffer from too much “lag” for your tastes. Fortunately, pressing buttons repeatedly while swearing like a sailor does, in fact, alter the time-space continuum.

6. You can’t attend a meeting or go to dinner without hiding your BlackBerry under the table and secretly responding to e-mail. Worse, you don’t even care that other people wonder what the heck your thumbs are doing down there.

TiVo logo

7. Your idea of roughing it is spending a week without TiVo. Those things that keep interrupting the program you’re watching? They’re called “commercials.” Annoying, yes, but usually not fatal.

8. Your flight’s on-board Wi-Fi craps out, and you’re thinking about parachuting down to the nearest Starbucks so that you can log on. Still, that’s better than watching Twilight: Eclipse, the in-flight movie.

Star Trek's Montgomery Scott, chief engineer9. YouTube just cannot stream videos of cats singing opera fast enough for your tastes. We understand that adopting a Highlander accent and shouting “She canna go na faster cap’n!” helps. If Scotty can’t fix it, nobody can.

10. Somebody cuts you off in traffic, and you immediately search your steering wheel for the ‘Thumbs-Down’ button. The good news: Even when you’re short on thumbs, you still have two middle fingers.

Read all twelve signs here

Foursquare is DOWN… quick… call my sponsor!

I’m going about my daily work day which starts with me checking in on Foursquare at Union Station.  I am determined to steal the mayorship from that guy at Union Station.  I am there two times a day… five days a week… HOW am I not the mayor yet?  That’s OK, one day he will forget to check in and when he does… BAM… the mayorship is mine.  Sorry, I digress… I often go “off the grid” on Foursquare over the weekend but I’m always checking in during the work week.   Yet, to my surprise, there was no Fourquare to check into this morning.  Then the tweets started flying, tweeple wanted to know “is it me”, “is there something wrong”?  As it turns out Foursquare is having major technical problems.

I didn’t know the extent of the problem this morning and I was prepared to go to the website and give them a piece of my mind when I was met by the graphic below.  The poor little icon has a broken crown and the saddest face.  How can I be mad at that?  OK, graphic designers, you got me… that’s a good look… I’ll just wait for you all to get the problem under control.  In the meantime, I’m able to better manage my Foursquare addiction and that can be nothing but a good thing!

Foursquare is Down

How Foursquare Is Changing The “Game”

I ran across the blog post quoted below when I was newly addicted to Foursquare.  I love how the author outlines the stages of Foursquare usage.  I am still somewhat addicted but I’m slipping from “Stage Three: Socialization” into “Stage Four: Greed”.  I WANT my badges, I’m fighting for my Mayorship of places I frequent and I DARE you to steal a Mayorship away from me.  Oh, and let me fess up right now, I worked for my Overshare badge and I am very proud of that.  But, what I find even more interesting than playing the game to earn points and unlock badges for discovering new things and interesting places, is how Foursquare is actually impacting behavior.

I know people who are going to multiple Starbucks locations just for the Barista Badge.  I know one person, peeved that her Mayorship was taken at a local D.C. restaurant, went to said location and checked in twice without ever leaving the establishment.  Her reasoning, she had been there for seven hours and felt she was due two check-ins.  Oh, then she went back because she forgot something and checked in again.  If she was there eating, drinking, socializing then how great for the restaurant.  Oh, by the way, she got her mayorship back.

As for me, I know I’m going to the gym more often (1) Because I’m getting ready for summer and need to get back in shape but also (2) I want my Foursquare Gym Rat Badge. So, it’s not just that we are checking in on Foursquare at places we were going to be anyway… the competition of the Foursquare game has caused us to modify our behavior and actually go places we may have not frequented otherwise.  This is fascinating to me and I’m sure totally unexpected by the Foursquare creators.

Oh, and finally, there is cheating.  Yes, people are cheating at Foursquare and I don’t understand this mentality at all.  Folks are checking in at places they are actually just passing by.  They have broken the code for how to earn badges and again, have modified their behavior because they are now going to these locations to earn a badge.  I’ll admit, if it weren’t for the fact you have to go to TEN different pizza places to get the Pizzaiolo Badge, I’d be eating a lot more pizza… which sort of defeats the purpose of going to they gym but that’s a whole other story.

I have to go… I just remembered I haven’t checked in at work and I have a co-worker who thinks she is going to take my Mayorship from me… NOT gonna happen.

From Addiction to Apathy: The Five Stages of Foursquare Use

BY Dan MacsaiWed Mar 31, 2010

Foursquare

Foursquare, the smartphone app that gives you points and badges for “checking in” at clubs and convenience stores, is about to reach the one-million-user mark. That’s a big deal. But it’s also a reminder that, try as we might to cover its every move, most of you haven’t tried Foursquare yet. (Or you’re using its scrappy archrival, Gowalla.) Here’s what to expect when you do:

Foursquare curiosityStage One: Curiosity
So you’ve gotten 27 emails about this Foursquare thing, and stupid blogs won’t shut up about it, and its always clogging your Twitter feed, and ugh, fine. You’ll try it, okay?! “That one guy from Jersey Shore has an account,” you think, “so it can’t be that complex.” As you toy with the app, you realize you can get virtual status symbols for, well, living your life the same way you always have. Suddenly, buying sponges isn’t just shopping. It’s a quest! For points! And badges! Ditto that trip to the dry cleaners. “Hmm,” you think. “This is actually kind of fun…”

Foursquare addictionStage Two: Addiction
Once you grasp the basic premise–which usually takes about a day or two–it gets harder and harder to imagine a time when you didn’t have an incentive to run everyday errands. You start checking in everywhere: your apartment, your apartment building, your subway stop, your office, your favorite lunch spot, your dentist’s office, etc. “It’s not oversharing,” you tell yourself, “it’s the ethos of Foursquare.” Eventually, you stumble across a venue that’s not in the database, which you can add to receive bonus points. “Jackpot!” you squeal, fist-pumping your iPhone. Everyone arond you glares. They just don’t understand.

Foursquare socializationStage Three: Socialization
By this point, you’ve become “friends” with actual people on Foursquare, and you can keep tabs on their whereabouts. In all seriousness, this feature is pretty useful: You can use it to surprise friends/significant others (“Can’t believe I ran into you at this obscure nail salon!”), exploit roommates (“I know you’re at the grocery store. Don’t forget to replace those Pringles you stole.”), and even see which bars are buzzin’ on Google Maps. “This is way more fun than getting points and badges,” you think. And then you discover the Leaderboard.

Foursquare greedStage Four: Greed
Because Foursquare is meant to be a game, of sorts, there are winners (people who check in all over the place) and losers (people who don’t). And as soon as you figure this out–generally after a week of just-for-fun use–the novelty wears off, and the competition kicks in. You start guarding venues at which you’ve been anointed “mayor” (more check-ins than anyone else), just so you can brag about the title. You start frequenting off-the-beaten-path lunch spots, hoping to find a restaurant that hasn’t been added (+5 points). You start shopping at different convenience stores, just so you can reap rewards for charting new territory (+3 points). You start checking in as often as possible, hoping to earn those coveted Superstar and Overshare badges. And you may even start cheating, just so you can make outrageous claims like, “I’m the mayor of the North Pole.” The whole time, you’ve also got one eye on the Leaderboard, so you can prove, once and for all, that you are the busiest, most adventurous, most Fouresquare-savvy person in…well, your immediate vicinity.

Foursquare apathyStage Five: Apathy
And then, just as suddenly as your Foursquare obsession began, it grinds to a halt. You’ve checked in at all your usual haunts, explored some new ones, added some others, and scored at least one week atop the Leaderboard. But since the charts reset every week, and you don’t get as many points for re-visiting the same places, your moment of glory is fleeting. “Well,” you say, sighing, “at least I have my badges.” And that’s true. You get to keep those forever. But now that you’ve gotten the basics–Adventurer (10 check-ins), Explorer (25 check-ins), Superstar (50 check-ins)–and maybe a few oddballs, such as “I’m on a Boat!” (checking in on a boat) and Gym Rat (10 check-ins at the gym during one month), you kind of stop caring. What initially excited you about Foursquare–apart from being able to keep tabs on people you know, which you still may want to do–was getting “rewards” for living your everyday life. Once you have to start working for them (spending more money, traveling greater distances), you realize they’re not actually worth it.

That, or you start appreciating Foursquare for what it really is: a simple(r) way to stalk your friends.

The Week In Review

Microsoft has completed an integration with my latest addiction, Foursquare.  Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to get your badges but now you can sync your location with Bing maps… although I don’t know why you would want to.

I’m not sure what the difference will be from what we’re already doing on Foursquare but according to BuzzBox reports are:

You will be able to search any location, and overlay it with a FourSquare “layer.” You will then get icons showing where users in this area have been “checking in.” This effectively shows you what the locals currently consider hot — where the action is right now.

The Wall Street Journal could charge readers $17.99  a month to read the newspaper on Apple’s forthcoming iPad device.  In a news item on Wednesday discussing publishers plans to support the iPad, the Wall Street Journal says the newspaper and the New York Times are currently working with test iPads.

“Six advertisers, including Coca-Cola and FedEx, have agreed to advertise with the Journal, and a four-month ad package costs $400,000,” according to people familiar with the matter quoted by the newspaper. Coke and FedEx however, declined to comment on terms.

“The Journal plans to charge subscribers $17.99 a month for iPad subscriptions, according to a person familiar with the matter,” the newspaper notes.  The iPad could prove a good source of revenue for publishers.

Read more at www.networkworld.com

Google pushed hard on China and China pushed back.  Media company Tom Group Led., popular Chinese portal Sina Corp. and online forum Tianya.cn have announced plans to stop using Google search on their sites.

Photo by Gemunu Amarasinghe/Associated Press

Security officers tried to stop people from lighting candles outside Google’s Chinese headquarters in Beijing on Tuesday.

China’s intransigence on the flow of information could harm its links to the global economy and sully its image.

Google Faces Fallout as China Reacts to Site Shift

By MIGUEL HELFT and MICHAEL WINES

Google’s China operations came under pressure as some content from its uncensored Hong Kong site was blocked.

China’s Internet Giants May Be Stuck There

By DAVID BARBOZA

Post-Google, China’s Internet market could increasingly resemble a lucrative, walled-off bazaar, experts say.

Read more at www.nytimes.com

Finally, in case the upcoming Apple iPad isn’t expensive enough, Mervis Diamond Importers recently announced the world’s first diamond studded iPad. The 11.43 carat iPad will sell for $19,999. You can order yours starting June 1.  So if you’d prefer a shiny, blinged out iPad over, say, a new car, you’re in luck.

Foursquare

My geeky friends and I have a new addiction, letting everyone know our whereabouts via Foursquare, a geolocation-based game that was built by the creators of Google-acquired Dodgeball. I have to admit, I don’t like the fact that you have to “check in” at various locations and instead I “check out”… letting people know where I’ve been rather than where I currently am.  Yet, I find myself joining my Foursquare friends Twitter buddies literally pulling out my phone as soon as I get to (rather leave) the gym, a restaurant, or some other location.  I am the “mayor” of the Bikestation at Union Station and the “mayor” of my commuter train.  This means no one else on Foursquare has “checked-in” as often as I have at these locations.  I had to laugh when someone I didn’t even know sent me a tweet that I “stink” because I stole the mayorship from him at the Bikestation… what can I say… I ride… a LOT.

I’m late to the Foursquare party and I credit my Twitter friends for my latest social networking addiction.   But it seems I’m not the only one getting in on the act.  Foursquare has tapped into something powerful and Facebook is taking note.  The New York Times reports that Facebook is positioning itself to launch its own GPS based service allowing users to share their current location with friends and encouraging developers to build applications that I would imagine will give those of us on Facebook the same incentives as Foursquare.  Facebook is slated to announce the news at its F8 developer conference next month in San Francisco.

I will say this, Foursquare has helped my workouts, I know people are looking for me to “check-in” at the gym since I’ve broadcast on 12seconds.tv that I’m back on my weight lifting program.  I’ll admit something else, I secretly want to steal the mayorship from whoever is that currently the “major” of my gym and I’m not going to be happy until I grab that title from him.

This is where I must caution anyone getting into the GPS game, pun intended.  While you are letting all your friends know your every move you are also letting potential thieves and stalkers know where you are as well.  So, have fun using location-based services but please be aware of what you are doing and what you are sharing.  By the way, I just check-in at home but I’m really at my favorite restaurant that offers free Wi-Fi typing this blog post… I’ll “check-in” here when I leave.