How to filter out Foursquare tweets

Sue Llewellyn asks if there’s a way to filter out Foursquare tweets. There is.

The first thing to do is work out something that all the tweets share. Well, every Foursquare tweet includes a link that begins http://4sq.com – so that’s it.

If you’re using Tweetdeck this is how you do it. At the bottom of every column in Tweetdeck are 6 buttons. The second one in – a downward-pointing arrow – is the ‘Filter this column’ button. Click this. A new row appears where you can filter the tweets. Select ‘Text’ then ‘-‘ and type ‘http://4sq.com’ in the third box. You should see tweets automatically filtered accordingly.

Seesmic desktop has a similar filtering function.

And on iPhone a few Twitter clients have filtering options, including Twittelator.

Let me know if you know of any others.

8 thoughts on “How to filter out Foursquare tweets

  1. Steve Jackson

    I really really dislike Foursquare for oh so many reasons.

    But I’ll try and cut it down to two.

    Firstly, I filter using Tweetdeck for tweets referencing the city where I live. That’s Hanoi. It’s annoying enough every day to filter out the mentions of Hanoi Rocks and the tiresome ongoing tirade of abuse from US right wingers against “Hanoi Jane”.

    But now I also have Foursquare to deal with. Increasingly news, blog posts and information of general interest are marginalised by assorted foursquarers telling me that they are…wherever they are, in Hanoi.

    I don’t believe their announcements are of much worth to anyone. They are vanity tweets made even more vain and numerous by tourists bragging about their holiday locations to friends back home.

    The second reason is the most obvious: I don’t care where you are. Unless you are really going to be somewhere absolutely shockingly odd then why would I?

    Okay let’s summon up some heroes. Let’s say… Billy Bragg, John Pilger and Alan Shearer. You know what? I really don’t care where any of them are right now. Not one little bit.

    So why would I care about an PR from Milton Keynes or a Journalist from Brighton? It’s not interesting – not on any level.

    One friend I follow on Twitter tweets that he is at his office. Every single weekday. Why? I get to read this twice as he also has it set to post to Facebook.

    As for filtering out I still think…why should I? Okay so it helps for filtering for news content. But as for my own feed – being told to filter it out always feels like being asked to sporadically put my hands over my ears by people having a conversation in my own living room.

    Social media gives people a platform. It means that we can tweet alongside Stephen Fry and we can publish our thoughts alongside big name journalists.

    But we should never use that as an excuse to inflate our own egos to the point where we consider every minute details of our lives to be important.

    And yes I can choose to unfollow someone – and often I do – but it’s such a shame when, this outbreak of smug vanity aside, I really want to interact.

    Foursquare has been hyped for three reasons. Firstly by the media because they didn’t want to be the people to write it off as a fad only for it to bite them in the arse later if it becomes huge.

    Secondly because people who champion social media have forgotten their own critical ability. Unfortunately, for them, social media has come to equal good however ludicrous the premise.

    Thirdly location data is cool – so therefore people think social media using location data must be cool. Wrong. If there are to be cool applications then this isn’t it.

    Foursquare is a social media red herring. Worse than that it’s just the type of vain, self-absorbed, inanity that people who don’t “get it” accuse social media of being.

    An American friend recently defended her foursquaring because it got her discounts at Starbucks. Is there anything sadder than using your tweets to pimp a multinational in return for small change? Is that all social media is worth to us?

    Time people realised that a) it’s of little worth and b) annoying and c) there’s much more in it for “the man” than there is for the individual.

    My turn to be selfish – I don’t want to filter it out – I just want people to stop.

    Reply
    1. Simon Cooper

      Steve Jackson, I have to agree with you in that some, (if not most) check-ins on Foursquare/Gowalla/Brightkite are mundane and boring. I too know of colleagues that feel the need to check-in at work everyday, and here I fail to see the point. I can see you across the office!! You could compare this to people’s first experience with Twitter and Facebook status updates. Broadcasting what you had for breakfast, or what you might have for dinner, is not interesting. Don’t forget that these two channels are full of self interested promotion and dross.

      Unfortunately I’d have to disagree with pretty much everything else. Yes there are some people that love to show off that they’re at some really cool place and you’re not, but you could shout about the same thing with a Tweet or a status update, or even come back and write a blog post about it and/or post photos to FLickr. So no difference there.

      Foursquare allows me to see where friends are in town, and allow you to meet up with people who are only a couple of streets away, and without a check-in you’d have never known they were close.

      It is also allows you to ask people for recommendations. If I see a friend has checked-in at a restaurant that I have been thinking about going to, I can ask them what they thought, before I make a booking. Again, if I see a good friend regularly checks-in at a bar or coffee shop I’ve not been to before, I’d probably think it must be a pretty good place, and that I should check it out for myself sometime.

      So I don’t see your argument where you say “Foursquare is a social media red hearing”. Yes, checking into Starbucks frequently so that you can get a discount at this uninspiring coffee chain is not a great advert. However there is potential here for business owners to be more creative and use Foursquare as another promotional tool. For instance set up a promotion to get customers to come into the shop at general off-peak times. Or how about offering previous ‘Mayors’ of Starbucks a free cake with a coffee if they check-in at your coffee shop.

      I also like the comment by ‘Midge D’. Do I really need/want blow-by-blow updates from #xyz_conf, probably not.

      With most social media channels, most of the activity is based around conversations, and as with real life, sometimes you just have to tune out the drivel, not the medium itself.

      Reply
    2. Godwyns O

      Steve Jackson, your comment sounds like depression. I agree that there are people who misuse foursquare/gowalla/brightkite as in every other thing in the world, but I do not agree that most are self-centred nor otherwise. They are very useful social media and your only problem is the INABILITY to understand that.

      Secondly, your followers (or those you follow) are not checking-in (or tweeting) bearing you alone in mind; your murmur makes you sound too self-important. While their check-ins might not interest you a teeny-bit, it may – and does – interest their other followers, (i.e. your friend that checks in every day at work, etc).

      Check-ins are networked; that means LINKED, not stand-alone. So people check-in back to a particular place once from another location… its quite sensible. Or you cant leave your location at work when you have actually left work to attend a conference or go home, etc.

      An example is: if someone is on a cycling trip like I do/did, you check in at different locations along your trip, it helps those interested in the trip (mark the word: INTERESTED) to see your progress and interact further. Obviously, I have followers who dont like it. On facebook, where all my tweets land too, some have blocked the feed and thats my answer to those who complain: “block it or leave my friend-list; i dont live for you.”

      The idiocy of your post is the self-esteem of ‘i-know-it-all’ that seem to be popping up in the social media circle. Some of you lot have to realise that others arent into it just to please you. This makes one wonder if the new conservative, freedom-choking, tyrant and dictating rulers of the world arent going to be from the social networking/geeky arena.

      Reply
  2. Midge D

    I really don’t see any difference between Foursquare check ins and the hashtagged reports of conferences i have no interest that turn up in my stream every other day. I just mentally filter them out because i know the engaging people i’m following will usually turn up something else interesting somewhere down the line, that’s how Twitter works for me.

    Reply
  3. Wataru

    Mixero is another desktop Twitter client with global filtering. It allows filtering both by keywords and by senders. (Mixero is like TweetDeck but in a more compact interface.)

    Reply
  4. Steve Jackson

    Simon,

    I think all of the reasons that you have defended Foursquare do not need require it to be linked to Twitter.

    It is the linking to Twitter that is both pointless and irritating. Linking it is all about promoting Foursquare rather than actually assisting us.

    Yes there will be people following you on Twitter who might be able to make use of your recommendations but most won’t live local to you and , frankly, most you might not want suddenly turning up to sit in the next seat to you at whatever coffee shop.

    You said: “However there is potential here for business owners to be more creative and use Foursquare as another promotional tool. For instance set up a promotion to get customers to come into the shop at general off-peak times. Or how about offering previous ‘Mayors’ of Starbucks a free cake with a coffee if they check-in at your coffee shop.”

    Exactly, spoken like a marketeer – you are excited about it because you can see promotional benefits. I can see a huge number of benefits for businesses but I am struggling to find real benefits for people. Foursquare has been hyped because so many people with influence spotted those benefits but that doesn’t make it A Good Thing for the general public – it’s being hyped in order to benefit commercial bodies rather than themselves.

    As for the hashtagged conference thing, again – that’s it exactly. I hate conference waffle “The coffee’s great #abconference”

    I hate it because it’s either aimed at a)a very small part of their following who are also in attendance and b) because each tweet says -“ooh look where I am”.

    And of course C – it bungs up my Twitter feed.

    But like foursquare checkins, it is really only of interest to a tiny percentage of Twitter followers. Its exclusive not inclusive and linked more to vanity than interest.

    You want to share information about a conference – blog it. Then it’s opt in rather than like-it-or-lump-it in your feed. The same goes for recommendations.

    Of course anyone is free to use any social media tool as they see fit and I am free to unfollow. I just think that for followers it’s dull and makes the tweeter sound incredibly vain.

    When someone announced they’ve unlocked a badge I just want to say; “ooohhh” in mock-excited voice. When they tell me where they are it just reminds me of a Vegas style announcer saying: “Elvis is in the building”.

    None of us are Elvis.

    I am way more interested in what’s inside someone’s head rather than where their head, literally, is.

    Reply

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