Tag Archives: Social network

4 uses for Foursquare for journalists

I’ve been fiddling with the mobile location-based social networking game Foursquare for a few months now. The concept is simple: as you move around a city you ‘check in’ to locations. You can see where your friends last checked in, and you can add comments as you go. But does it have journalistic uses? I think it does. Here are just 4:

1. Finding contacts

Until recently I refrained from pressing the ‘Tell Twitter’ or ‘Tell Facebook’ buttons when I checked into a location. However, that changed when I realised what happens when you do.

In one example, David Nikel, a political candidate in Birmingham, ‘checked in’ at Birmingham New Street train station 5 minutes after I had. Although I hadn’t ‘shared’ my check in via Twitter, because Nikel did, his automatically generated tweet said that I was there too. This alerted me and led to us meeting.

2. Social capital

Foursquare plugs into your existing social networks but adds an extra layer of information. If you know that John spends a lot of time at Urban Coffee Co you can make a point to go there yourself more often, or at least have it as a potential conversation-opener.

3. Tips

Users can add ‘tips’ to locations – a feature which is currently underused but has potential for leads as well as…

4. Distribution

Foursquare has already signed deals with Metro in Canada, Bravo TV and the FT. The potential is obvious: content directly relevant to your location. The big issue for Foursquare is whether it can achieve the scale that most publishers need.

How about you? Are using Foursquare or one of the other location based social networks, such as Brightkite or Gowalla – and how has it been useful?

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Twitter cancels UK SMS – the Facebook campaign to sort it out

UPDATE 10: Current startups include TweetSMS, Zygotweet, Twitmobile, Twittex, HootSMS, 3jam, Tweeteroo and TwitSMS.

UPDATE 9: Two workarounds suggested

UPDATE 8: Avatar campaign now under way. Now available for  the following mobile operators: 3 (http://www.tw3t.com/f/25l); O2: http://www.tw3t.com/f/25m; Orange: http://www.tw3t.com/f/25g; T-Mobile: www.tw3t.com/f/25o; Virgin Mobile (http://www.tw3t.com/f/25n); and Vodafone: http://www.tw3t.com/f/25k. Generic image also created by dear2world

UPDATE 7: Nathan Monk is suggesting a campaign of sending ‘boo’ tweets to Twitter founder Biz Stone

UPDATE 6: Journalism.co.uk reports on the impact on many newspapers’ plans

UPDATE 5: Interview about TweetSMS at ArabCrunch.

UPDATE 4: Also filling that gap are Zygotweet.com – also recommended is Jaiku.

UPDATE 3: Also from the Facebook group wall: Some are calling for a ‘Twitter strike’ on August 18

UPDATE 2: That gap in the market has already been spotted: TweetSMS.com (also on Twitter) offers to deliver text messages “for a low price”. On the Facebook group Wall Bullying.co.uk (also on Twitter) notes of Twitter’s official statement: “the prices they are getting charged are way over the odds: on the volume they are hitting it could be as low as 0.3 – 0.5p a text.”

UPDATE: Nicolas Gosset has set up a group to campaign in France

So Twitter has cancelled SMS updates for users outside of the US, Canada and India, apparently because it has been unable to arrange decent billing deals with mobile operators outside of those countries.

So I’ve set up a Facebook group in the UK to put some pressure on mobile operators to cut a deal, fast. It’s in their interests, after all – how many of us started to use text messaging more often because of Twitter? And how many of us are now going to stop?

Hope you can join and add to the numbers (even if you’re not in the UK). Also, if you’re not in the UK, please set up a group for your own country, let me know about it, and we can build a network of these.

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