My Affair (5 Hot Days with Foursquare)

Our first date was less than spectacular. I felt obligated to be there as digital PR agency, and I don’t think Foursquare saw me as anything special, either.

I swiftly became Mayor of my supermarket, toy store and local baseball field. Foursquare tried to deepen our relationship with free coffees and poorly written location tips, but it didn’t excite me. I quickly lost interest.

As a B2B marketer, Foursquare was always a somewhat unlikely match for me. Location-based social networks are unlikely to offer my clients in professional and financial services significant benefits. These companies generally have a complex sales funnel that can take months and sometimes years to convert.

There are some potential digital PR benefits for businesses, according to Adam Holden-Bache of Social Media B2B. He argues that “what many marketers fail to see is the value of the data being aggregated…marketers (can) see what their contacts are doing beyond the interaction with their brand.”

Frankly, that wasn’t enough for me. In an era where there is no shortage of pertinent data, I concluded other networks offered better long term relationship potential. So I walked away from Foursquare.

I didn’t tell Foursquare, though. It seemed prudent to keep a back-up network, just in case. You never know how things might change in the future.

Then, one day, something did change. It was my location…and my heart followed.

I spent last week in Madrid, attending the annual general meeting (AGM) of Worldcom, the world’s largest partnership of independent public relations firms. My colleague Cortney and I arrived a few days early so that we could see a few sights before the meeting officially began.

I thought it might be fun to check into the famous museum The Prado. So I did. Then it occurred to me it would be cool to check into Retiro Park and share a photo of the garden. So I did.  I wondered if any of my friends had arrived in town, and if they were checking in, too. So I looked. This was starting to get interesting.

Then we hopped on a tour bus to drive by well known Madrid landmarks. I suddenly realized I could make a game out of checking into each place we drove by, hoping the tour bus would pause long enough for me to pull it off. My pulse raced for the 2 hour ride. Foursquare suddenly felt kind of hot. (That said, Cortney was beginning to look at me strangely. I don’t think she shared the attraction.)

Over the next few days, I checked into our hotel, restaurants and various meetings, sharing pictures along the way. I also enjoyed selectively connecting to my other friends on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook with one click. I just couldn’t stop connecting to Foursquare.

And Foursquare noticed. It sent me funny messages, doled out all kinds of extra points for multiple check-ins and congratulated me for my dramatic jumps up the leader-board. My Worldcom buddy Bill Trumpfheller dueled with me to get Foursquare’s attention. I might have been a little in love.

On Friday, I checked in a final time at the Madrid airport on the way home, sharing a photo of the beautiful wooden ceiling at the terminal. But when I arrived home, I was too tired to bother checking in at JFK airport.

That was 2 days ago and I haven’t checked in again. I think my hot affair with Foursquare may be abruptly over.

If it wants to get me back, it’s going to need make it interesting for me to spend time with it during my average day.  In the end, it’s a transactional network that hasn’t figured out how to get me to make a long term commitment.

What about you? Have you ever been in a relationship with Foursquare? And do you think B2Bs should even bother with a date?


To reach Elizabeth:

Phone: 212.840.0017
Twitter: @elizabethsosnow
LinkedIn: Elizabeth Sosnow