There are so many different platforms, social networks, groups, etc, all designed to bring us closer and make us more social. When foursquare came on the scene, I just didn’t see its purpose … in the same way I didn’t really get twitter. After a chat with a friend and colleague about 6 months ago on what can actually be done with foursquare, I started dabbling. I do not have it linked to twitter – so I do not bombard people with my check-ins – and I only check in when in public places … and only sometimes.
I like the idea of it turning into a resource where, when I check into a particular place, I can get details on other people’s experiences in that place. I also see it as being the kind of platform where one can eventually get access to links to interesting and related information, i.e. checking in at Apartheid Museum or St. George Castle in Elmina, Ghana should give me a link to its website, operating hours, etc. We still have some distance to travel before it gains traction in South Africa – and across Africa – and the jury is still out on whether it actually will. That said, brands are starting to look at ways of connecting with their consumers in very creative ways, e.g. when you check into a retail outlet, you then get a notice offering you discount on a particular product on special.
For the Sony Ericsson Open, currently taking place in Miami, Sony Ericsson has partnered with foursquare to integrate foursquare into all aspects of the tournament. How they have done this is “through foursquare, Sony Ericsson is offering the 300,000 fans that attend each year with the chance to win some amazing prizes, just by checking-in at designated venues at the Sony Ericsson Open on their mobile phones. Those lucky enough to redeem the Sony Ericsson Tennis Fan Badges will not only be able to receive discounts on tickets for select sessions, but also have a chance of winning access to post-match press conferences with the players and personal autograph signings.
Those checking into foursquare can also access tips and match results for the duration of the tournament providing a more engaging experience for the fans. The tennis fans lucky enough to become ‘Mayor’ of each court at the Sony Ericsson Open will even have the chance to win the ultimate prize – the opportunity to participate in a pre-match coin toss.”
The possibilities with foursquare are numerous. We just need to be creative in how we apply it. Imagine if something like this had been implemented during the World Cup in South Africa last year.