Foursquare is still relatively new when it comes to the social scene, although growing in popularity. It has over 10M users, growing over 1000% in a year.
Then engage their users and make the social network fun through the utilization of points and badges, leveraging the uptake of online gaming. Essentially, users compete with their friend network to try and have the most points, and to win the most badges, while simultaneously getting to see what everyone is up to – travelling, clubbing etc. (*note*). Badges are won by checking in at various venues either once (for special events) or a certain number of times.
A great example s the additional points received for checking in today 11.11.11. When you do you will receive a palindrome bonus, and at 11:11 you will receive a palindrome minute bonus if you check in… In addition, if you check in at a Veteran Memorial you will receive a specialty “service” badge.
It is fun activities that keep surprising users and keep people engaged. This coinciding with a strong social presence on Facebook, Twitter etc helps keep the huge momentum they have begun. It also is a great way to spread the “remembrance” with users checking-in at memorials, sharing their stories, telling their networks they stop to remember. Even giving special recognition to soldiers who have fought. Although in the large scheme of things, social media is a relatively trivial aspect of our lives (in comparison the those who fought for our freedom) – this is a nice way to link the two and use the trivial to remind us of the important.
Facebook places tried to take over the geolocation space; however, it lacked the luster Foursquare offered. The addition of Facebook’s proposed Interactive check-in map on the upcoming timeline wall replacement may help, but Foursquare seems to have a good foothold.
To expect 1000% grow annually would be foolish. However, I think we can expect continual growth, especially as they are rolling out new features, and keeping their users engaged in such innovative ways. The ways in which this social network has been utilized nearly completely by mobile as well will attribute to its success.
*note from above*some people find this voyeuristic, but all social media is. Like any network, you choose who can and cannot see your information and you are in control of when you do and do not check-in. In the case of this new badge, Foursquare’s blog discussed how Foursquare allowed them to ‘participate’ or feel as though they were a part of the daily routine, of their families while across the world at war. This isn’t voyeuristic, it is like any other social network – when used appropriately it is a connecting and uniting force.