Visualize How Foursquare Helps Local Business Discovery

To this day I’m surprised at how local and when I say local I really mean Canada have yet to grasp the utility of Foursquare for their brick and mortar businesses. Whenever I’ve spoken to clients about Foursquare the main two reactions are total ignorance or total wonder with both saying “how can this help me and why should I use this?”

I’m not going to start going into a full explanation the how, I’m too awful a writer/blogger to literally do this and there are tons of resources online now to help clients setup their accounts and what are the benefits.

I wanted to share this video that Foursquare just published that visually demonstrates what happened when the La Colombe coffee shop opened in NYC’s East Village.

“Each node in this network is a person, and each link represents friendship on foursquare. The size of each node is proportional to how many friends they have, and the placement of each node is determined by a machine learning algorithm called Structure Preserving Embedding. As people check in to La Colombe, they will turn from grey to blue, and their friends on the network will light up. As more people check in we can see how this new place opening spreads across the social graph.”

The main point that comes across for me is how the nodes (person) are all tied together. The way I understand this visualization is  that the Foursquare check-ins are doing the job of spreading the word and influencing friends to visit and discover the new coffee shop in the hood.

SXSWi T-Shirt Swag – Day 5

We’re in the home stretch, I can finally see an end to my  pile of SX t-shirt adventure.

Today’s shirt is a front-runner for the best of the group because its simple, straightforward, fits well and its one from one of my social networks,  Foursquare who had an awesome outside space during SXSW with a great foursquare court (see below).

The only criteria that fans needed to fulfil was to answer two simple questions. What do you like about Foursquare and what would you add/change to it.

My answers where as follows.

I like that 4sqr has become almost mainstream, at least in Montreal. It is definitely not at the level of use I’ve seen in places like SF, NYC or Austin I expect we’ll catch up soon.

The one feature I would add is one that Gowalla used to have. The ability to insert designated messages to friends who check into locations where you have left comments specifically for them. This was a feature that wasn’t used by most since they removed it in version 2.0. I wasn’t very happy about that because I had personally used it with great success.

Using Gowalla to Win Her Heart.

I’ll admit, I’m a little addicted to location-based social networks. Most of the time I’m checking into Gowalla, Foursquare or Yelp as well as Foodspotting when eating out. I love trying out the latest ones and seeing what different functionality they bring.

The use of location-based social networks is growing, in fact, its been on a steady increase in the past few years. Foursquare recently hit 10 million users and Gowalla is at a million last I heard. At its basic form, there a great way to keep track of what your friends are up to. But, have you ever thought about using these social networks to enhance your dates? Using networks like Gowalla & Foursquare on dates can actually create a really fun date experience. Especially when you’re just getting to know one another.

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