I’m really into using Foursquare, the location-based social network and iPhone application, in Tok, Alaska.
What is Foursquare?
Location-based social networks are social networks that use GPS features to locate you and that let you broadcast your location and other content from your mobile device. You usually check in when you arrive someplace to let your network contacts or the public at large know where you are and what you’re doing. Foursquare, GoWalla and BrightKite are three popular location-based social networks and all of them have an iPhone app.
I joined Foursquare during my recent visit to New York City when I met with a number of friends who I have not seen for years. Many of them were Foursquaring, and I asked a lot of questions about the application before I downloaded it that day.
So How Does It Work?
I arrive at a location – say, Three Bears or Fast Eddy’s or the Tok General Store – and then fire up the iPhone app for Foursquare and Check In. The application detects my GPS location and attributes it to the location I select – or in the case of many Tok businesses, I submit – and then notifies my Foursquare friends where I am. If I want to, I can also notify friends through Facebook and Twitter.
If I check in several times at a certain location, I can become “Mayor” of that place. Suddenly, Foursquare becomes a bit of friendly competition as you and others try to claim and reclaim mayorial status. Right now, I’m in competition for Mayordom with Nick Y. for most of Tok places. I wonder who that is! Tokites will know.
Here’s a recent article in Wired.com where I shared my enthusiasm for Foursquare.
Businesses can partner with Foursquare and use the service to attract new customers. Many savvy local businesses are catching on to the popularity of Foursquare and are offering Mayors special perks, like free coffee or a discount. In the case of Foursquare Mayors, you don’t have to disclose these special benefits to anyone. Some establishments even put up signs in their windows or use sandwich boards on the curb to show their love of Mayors. So if you’ve got a restaurant, retail establishment, or any kind of brick and mortar location, you may want to look into how Foursquare can help you attract–and retain–customers.
How Can Foursquare Benefit Tok Businesses?
Promote with Tips: Anyone using Foursquare can submit – and also receive – instant recommendations (Tips) from Foursquare friends or from people using Foursquare who have been in the same ocation before you. You can check all the tips in your vicinity and learn about all sorts of things that you wouldn’t have easily known any other way. Like Prime Rib on Fridays at Fast Eddy’s.
Think about this summer: Many tourists and RVers will be driving the Alaska Highway and of course, can’t avoid stopping in Tok for food, gas, lodging. Imagine if people who come through are using Foursquare. They can suddenly access a wealth of information from locals, from businesses, and from tourists about the establishments around them.
Are you using Foursquare? If not, maybe you should start today!