Foursquare – A Tool For Publishers?

Foursquare

Kristen and Jose recently got me addicted to the smart phone app Foursquare (not to be confused with the game you played as a child at recess).

By detecting your geo-location, Fouresquare allows you to “Check-In” to virtually any place you visit (The grocery store, restaurants, the local dog park) and then update your friends via e-mail, Twitter, or Facebook. You can also leave ‘tips’ and facts about that location that other users can read. If you are person that visits a particular place the most, you are deemed “The Mayor” and depending on the place you could get special privileges and discounts. So let’s say you ‘check-in’ to your favorite crowded pub on a Friday night, you can instantly tell if any of our other friends are there as well, cool no?

Okay, so what the heck does this have to do with books, right? Well MediaBistro recently referenced an interesting article from SocialFresh about how Publishers could use the application.

Here’s an example from the SocialFresh article on how National Geographic and the Washington post are already using Foursquare. Check out the article here to see the full list:

17. National Geographic and Washington Post Expand Trips Feature – Gowalla expanded it’s trips feature and launched the new beefed up feature with some big partners. “The National Geographic branded Gowalla Trips include 15 walking tours to explore destinations like the Seine in Paris, the Avenue of the Arts in Philadelphia and San Diego’s Balboa Park. The Washington Post has curated its own adventures. Its trips are designed to help travelers discover attractions and explore Washington, D.C.”
Why It Is Unique: Bigger and better long term interaction with brand

So this is pretty awesome, right? This is a medium sort of like Yelp in that while, yes it can be used as a marketing tool, it also has a lot of benefits for consumers. What do you think?

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  • scott

    Pure stalker tool, commercial and personal. At this time, the benefits to advertisers greatly out weighs the any service this might provide to the average Joe and/or Jane.

  • http://www.daemonsbooks.com Jose @ Daemons

    I like the idea of some kind of interaction between Foursquare or similar services and publishers. Publishers could tie in locations from a book to checkins on Foursquare and use that to encourage readers to visit those locations in real life. For example, you could earn the “The Lost Symbol” badge by visiting all the locations in the Dan Brown book. Or do it the opposite way and tie in the book to a location, that the user may not know about beforehand. For example, if you check in at Charing Cross Station in London the publishers of the Harry Potter books would send you an excerpt of the first Harry Potter book where they talk about Platform 9 3/4. I think this will be an interesting area of growth between social media and the publishing industry.