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Is Twitter Application Foursquare Just a Game?

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Foursquare

There are mixed reviews about Foursquare right now:  just a game?  what’s the point? can it help your business? or is it just a waste of time?

Like everything else, if you start with the mentality that it is a waste of time, it will totally be a waste of time – so stop reading and go find something useful to do.

A few months ago I would see a couple of twitter friends announcing their locations and “mayorships” from cities like Chicago or San Francisco and couldn’t join in because Foursquare was not in Miami yet.  That all has changed and now have an opinion, although it’s still too new to really give you tangible proof. (And for the record, they keep adding cities….you can even request yours if they haven’t yet).

This past August, while attending REBarCamp San Francisco and Inman Connect – the game became really competitive – stealing mayorships from each other, being the first to write in an address to a location to get more points and then fighting for first place position (don’t believe the stories of @Tyr and I cheating either – we did go visit the cat-in-a-box).  But the whole point is that you log in when you visit a place and can only compete with locals also playing along.  Points go back to zero on Sunday nights and you get badges and discover new things as you play along.

The Social tells us about Ashton Kutcher playing Foursquare.  The New York Times calls it

“A combination of friend-finder, city guide and competitive bar game, Foursquare lets users “check in” with a cellphone at a bar, restaurant or art gallery. That alerts their friends to their current location so they can drop by and say hello”.

Techcrunch says (in one of their dozens of articles about Foursquare)

“foursquare’s primary function is to help you figure out where your friends are. Users frequently ‘check-in’ with the app to update their current location, which is then broadcast to their friends”.

Mashable says,

“The location-based application has managed to strip the fat out of other location-aware mobile ideas, find just the right formula for encouraging check-ins, and hit at the right time”.

But here’s the thing – once the game is established in different cities – you start meeting new people, start engaging them and you may just find out that you have tons of things in common.  Isn’t it what it’s all about?  The whole mayorship thing has introduced me to a couple of great business contacts and has become the start of conversation – it’s all good!  And the best part is that you decide how much you want to be involved and it doesn’t have to rule your life.  So right now it’s proving to be more than just a game for me….although keeping up with my local socialites would have been plenty for me.

Ines Kicking Butt at Foursquare SanFran

And here’s proof that I did some major butt whooping in San Francisco – hear that Jeff Turner? Todd Carpenter? and Brad Nix? Muahahaha!

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors Miamism.com, PrimeMiamiBeach.com, and MiamismPix.com and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Benn Rosales

    November 2, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    I suppose if it recognizes a subdivision or area of town you’re currently showing property in, or co-working, or having coffee, then it certainly has a business functionality. If you’re the social butterfly, then it certainly lends to that. I see it as a way of noise cutting and connecting with your audience offline.

  2. Dustin Luther

    November 2, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    And quite the cat-in-a-box it was!

  3. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    November 2, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    Benn – I don’t think it recognizes subdivisions yet – and that’s why I find Brightkite to be a bit more useful, it is a way to connect with an audience on a One-on-one basis and cutting out the noise…..I can’t wait for them to keep adding different types of functionality to make it something more than identifying where your friends are at or where they have been.

    Dustin – I will NEVER forget the cat-in-a-box (wink)

  4. SteveBeam

    November 2, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    Still trying to figure this out. Looks interesting but I guess I still don’t totally get it. I did sign up though so once I play around with it for a few days maybe I’ll get it.

  5. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    November 2, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    Steve – it takes a while….when it first got to Miami I felt like I was the only one using it – soon you’ll meet people that frequent the same places you do….it can be a bit bizarre at times

  6. Jason Sandquist

    November 2, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    This hasn’t happened to me yet but Fred Wilson has a couple of real life examples.

  7. Craig Barrett

    November 3, 2009 at 12:02 am

    There are things we do, businesses we patron, or places we go that may not be directly tied to business. But… the peripheral sense of the application, especially if you tie in a shout out (think long tail), coupled with other Social Media I think may add another layer of branding or community.

  8. Janie Coffey

    November 3, 2009 at 9:28 am

    well I know for one thing, Ines, I sure want to beat you out of the Mayor position in Versailles! That is in my own back yard, you don’t need to be comin’ over here, you have Soyka over there, let me keep little ole Versailles! Just kidding, Foursquare is a lot of fun and you see where you friends and followers like to go. Another way to make it real and possilby meet F2F

  9. Deb Tabor

    November 3, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    I’m willing to give any app a try, especially anything that lets me meet new people.

  10. Wesley Faulkner

    November 3, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    I see my picture on this post. Yeah! That is all.

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Social Media

Reels: Why Instagram can’t compete with TikTok… yet?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The future for Instagram Reels is uncertain, since even Instagram has acknowledge that TikTok is far ahead of them, but what does it mean for their future?

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Phone camera on stand in foreground with two women filming for TikTok or Instagram reels in the background

If you’re a TikTok user, chances are you’ve scoffed at Instagram’s attempt to compete with the hype. Yes, I’m referring to the Reels feature.

In an attempt to step in and absorb all the TikTok user run-off in August, when Trump announced the TikTok ban, Instagram launched Reels. Short, catchy and sharable clips, Reels are almost exactly like TikTok videos – but are they catching on?

In an interview with The Verge’s “Decoder” podcast, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri says that he isn’t yet happy with Reels, stating that TikTok is still “way ahead”. While Reels is growing in terms of shared content and consumed content, it’s not nearly where Instagram hoped it would be by this point. Perhaps this is because TikTok is still alive and well. Or perhaps there’s something else to it.

It’s interesting to note that some of the most popular Reels on Instagram are simply reposted TikToks. This poses the question: Is Instagram’s Reels simply a channel where the ‘cream of the crop’ TikTok videos can get posted in a second location and exposed to a new audience, or is it actually a platform for creators?

Mosseri also hints at some sort of consolidation across Instagram’s video features (i.e., IGTV, in-post videos, Reels). Without being entirely sure what that will look like, I’m already skeptical – is this all just another example of Facebook (via Instagram) trying to hold a monopoly on the social media sphere?

My opinion? As long as TikTok is still in operation, it will reign supreme. While the two apps have a ton of overlap, they are simply different cultural spaces. TikTok is a trend-heavy, meta-humor creative space that relies on engagement between users through effect, duets, and other TikTok-exclusive features.

Adversely, Reels is a space for Instagramming millennials and Gen Xers who might be choosing to opt out of TikTok (which has sort of become the cultural epicenter for the younger Gen Zers). The feature might also be used by Insta influencers and creators of all ages who toggle between the two apps (i.e., reposting your viral TikTok on Instagram to gain more traction).

Whatever the reason is for engaging in Reels, I’m fully certain the feature will never amount to the success of TikTok – but I guess we’ll have to wait to see what Instagram has in store for us next.

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Social Media

How this influencer gained 26k followers during the pandemic

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Becoming an influencer on social media can seem appealing, but it’s not easy. Check out this influencer’s journey and her rise during the pandemic.

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Influencer planning her social media posts.

Meet Carey McDermott – a 28-year-old Boston native – more widely known by her Instagram handle @subjectively_hot. Within a few months, since March, McDermott has accrued a whopping 26k following, and has successfully built her brand around activism, cheeky observations of day-to-day bullshit, and her evident hotness.

“It mostly started as a quarantine project.” Said McDermott, who was furloughed from her job at the start of shelter-in-place. “I had a lot of free time and I wanted to do an Instagram for a while so I thought, ‘I might as well take some pictures of myself.’”

To get started McDermott, used a lot of hashtags relevant to her particular niche to get noticed, and would follow other influencers that used similar hashtags.

“I definitely built a little online community of women, and we all still talk to each other a lot.”

Like many popular influencers, McDermott engages with her audience as much as possible. She is sure to like or reply to positive comments on her pictures, which makes followers feel special and seen, and subsequently more likely to follow and continue following her account. She also relies heavily on some of Instagram’s more interactive features.

When asked why she thinks she has been able to build and retain such a large base in just a few months, McDermott explained: “I think people like my [Instagram] Stories because I do a lot of polls and ask fun questions for people to answer, and then I repost them”.

But it’s not just fun and games for @subjectively_hot – Carey wants to use her account to make some substantial bread.

“I’ve gotten a bunch of products gifted to me in exchange for unpaid ads and I’m hoping to expand that so I can get paid ads and sponsorships. But free products are nice!”

Additionally, McDermott was recently signed with the talent agency the btwn – a monumental achievement which she attributes to her influencer status.

“Having a large Instagram following gave me the confidence to reach out to a modeling brand. After they looked at my Instagram, they signed me without asking for any other pictures.”

To aspiring influencers, McDermott offers this advice:

“Find your niche. Find your brand. Find what makes you unique and be yourself – don’t act like what you think an influencer should act like. People respond to you being authentic and sharing your real life. And definitely find other people in similar niches as you and build connections with them.”

But McDermott also warns against diving too unilaterally into your niche, and stresses the importance of a unique, multi-dimensional online persona.

“[@subjectively_hot] is inherently a plus size account. But a lot of plus size Instagrams are just about being plus size, and are only like, “I’m confident and here’s my body”. I don’t want to post only about body positively all day, I want it to be about me and being hot.”

And you definitely can’t paint this girl in broad strokes. I personally find her online personality hilarious, self-aware, and brutally anti-patriarchal (she explicitly caters to all walks of life minus the straight cis men who, to her dismay, frequent her DMs with unsolicited advice, comments, and pictures). Her meme and TikTok curations are typically some of the silliest, most honest content I see that day and, as her handle suggests, her pictures never fail in their hotness value.

For McDermott, right now is about enjoying her newfound COVID-era celebrityhood. Her next steps for @subjectively_hot include getting paid ads and sponsorships, and figuring out the most effective way to monetize her brand. The recent spike in COVID-19 cases threaten her chances of returning to the place of her former employment in the hospitality industry.

With so many influencers on Instagram and other platforms, some might find it hard to cash in on their internet fame. But with a loyal fanbase addicted to her golden, inspiring personality, I think Carey will do just fine.

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TikTok: A hotbed of cultural appropriation, and why it matters

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Gen Z’s favorite app TikTok is the modern epicenter for cultural appropriation – why you as a business owner should care.

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TikTok creator with a phone recording on a stand, but dances can be a sign of cultural appropriation.

Quarantine has been the catalyst for a sleuth of new cultural phenomena – Tiger King, Zoom, and baking addictions, to name a few. Perhaps most notably, TikTok has seen user numbers skyrocket since lockdown. And I don’t think those numbers are going down any time soon.

TikTok is a very special place. More so than any other social media apps I’ve engaged with, TikTok feels like a true community where total strangers can use the app’s duet or audio features to interact in creative, collaborative ways.

However, being able to use another user’s original audio or replicate their dance has highlighted the prevalence of cultural appropriation on TikTok: the app, as wholesome as it may be at times, has also become a hot bed for “virtual blackface”.

The most notable example of appropriation has to do with the Renegade dance and Charli D’Amelio – who is young, White, and arguably the most famous TikTok influencer (she is second only to Addison Rae, who is also White). The dance, originally created by 14-year-old Black user Jalaiah Harmon, essentially paved the way for D’Amelio’s fame and financial success (her net worth is estimated to be $8 million).

Only after Twitter backlash did D’Amelio credit Harmon as the original creator of the dance to which she owes her wealth – up until that point, the assumption was the dance was hers.

There is indeed a myriad of exploitative and appropriative examples of TikTok videos. Some of the most cringe-worthy include White users pantomiming black audio, in many cases affecting AAVE (African American Vernacular English). Styles of dance and music that were pioneered by Black artists have now been colonized by White users – and many TikTokers are not made aware of their cultural origins.

And what’s worse: TikTok’s algorithms favor White users, meaning White-washed iterations of videos tend to get more views, more engagement and, subsequently, more financial gains for the creator.

As you can imagine, TikTok’s Black community is up in arms. But don’t take it from me (a non-Black individual) – log onto the app and listen to what Black users have to say about cultural appropriation for yourself.

Still, the app is one of the fastest growing. Companies are finding creative ways to weave their paid ads and more subliminal marketing strategies into the fabric of the ‘For You’ page. In many ways, TikTok is the next frontier in social media marketing.

With a few relevant locational hashtags and some innovative approaches to advertising, your business could get some serious FREE attention on TikTok. In fact, it’s the future.

As aware and socially conscious small business owners, we need to make sure that while we are using the app to get ours, that the Black creators and artists who made the app what it is today are also getting theirs. Anything short of direct accountability for the platform and for caustic White users would be offensive.

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