Foursquare is a location-based social network. Users “Check-in” at venues via mobile phone, find where friends check-in and are then awarded points and sometimes “badges.”
Dead Simple – There are no photos, videos, comments, or links. It is for you to find where your friends are and discover new places to check out. Those two activities are in high demand for most people. Foursquare is more like Facebook than Twitter in one major way, it focuses on your existing friends. It helps you see where they are right now. Or helps you let your friends know where you are. No more strangers passing in the night.
The Game is the Hook – Even though it is simple and offers value, some people just will write it off as one more of many location based social networks. The game helps get people over the hump of why to join. The game will not work for everyone and many lose interests in games over time. But it is a little bit of sugar on top that will entice many to try it. The information will keep them there.
Businesses Get to Play Right Away – Yes, there is great data being collected on Foursquare. And Yes, there will ultimately be ads I suspect for businesses to pay to play. But right now, any business can go in and watch the check-ins at their establishment. Offer promotions and discounts to anyone near their part of town. And interact with existing and potential customers in a new way. Some location based networks have been around for a year or two and still do not have these opportunities.
Made for Mobile – Foursquare is built from the ground up for smart phones. You do not have to go to their website. You can sign up incredibly easily and quickly. The user interface is very clean and intuitive. The locations can be created on the fly very easily. You can access phone numbers for locations and friends when needed. The platform works perfectly on the go, something that, ironically, many location based social networks have not perfected.