This week’s newsletter… or, rather, last week’s newsletter

When I started writing the newsletter, I made a vow not to bother emailing everyone if I had nothing to say.

Which is why I didn’t send a newsletter on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Of course, the thing is referred to on the site as ‘the Friday newsletter’ but sometimes it’s quite difficult to deliver a perspective or an opinion to the quality that I’d wish to, in a defined time period.

The thing that’s really been winding me up of late is Foursquare. Not the creators, per se, but the users and how rubbish mobile location still is. That subject, I think, might well form the basis of the next newsletter. Either this evening, or I’ll wait until Friday.

If you’re not signed up to The Application Review, by the way, you’ve been missing the weekly updates that I usually send out on a Wednesday. That’s far easier (in the context of not having to summon up a huge amount of bile) so it typically goes out on schedule. Sign up for The Application Review — it’s free of course, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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5 Responses to This week’s newsletter… or, rather, last week’s newsletter

  1. Andrew March 1, 2010 at 5:39 pm #

    +1 for a Foursquare rant — I've been trying to tell my Twitter friends that nobody beyond a four-block radius has the slightest interest in which Starbucks you've become the mayor of. Maybe you can do better…

  2. Ewan March 1, 2010 at 9:40 pm #

    Andrew, I hope you're on the Mobile Industry Review newsletter distribution. It's about to go out complete with the FourSquare rant…

  3. simondavis March 2, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

    Totally agree about foursquare twitter reposts. However, I don't think Foursquare is 'broken' because it's not passive. Foursquare is a game and passive games are boring. One might even argue they aren't games! People like checking in on Foursquare to win badges and compete for points. If you forget, thats part of the game.

    So while I liked your rant in the newsletter Ewan, I think it misses the difference between Foursquare and say Loopt or other location based friend-finders. Comparing it to Latitude is like comparing apples and oranges.

  4. Ewan March 3, 2010 at 1:26 am #

    Would you characterise FourSquare as a game rather than a location based social network (of sorts)?

  5. Simon Davis March 3, 2010 at 7:44 am #

    It's both. The biggest trouble in getting location based social networks to work is getting people to remember to use them. When I worked at Socialight, people loved the idea that they could stick virtual notes to the real world, but ultimately would create notes saying MY OFFICE or MY HOME. Only certain types of people were keen to tag up locations in a way that had value for other people. Friend Finders suffer the same initial wow but fall into disuse very quickly. It's just not fun and finding your friends is actually a marginal use case when you think about how many times a month you wished you could do it.

    Foursquare's game elements, are what make it more than a friend finder. It makes it competitive, sometimes insanely so as people compete for mayorships. But it also makes people remember to engage (they arrive at new place and their first thought is to check in! As you describe) but they enjoy doing so. It's not a chore. It's a game.

    I enjoy using Foursquare and I only have 6 friends on it. Unlike other friend finders, it's still compelling before all your friends use it. That is no small feat.

    As a separate point, regarding the oversharers that post updates between different social networks. Well that is more a user etiquette problem than a network problem. I hate it when people post their Twitter comments into their Facebook newsfeed. At the end of the day, you can stop following those people on Twitter or hide their posts in Facebook and it's better to leave that decision to the individual user.

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