Location based social networking is on the rise. Though you may not have heard of Foursquare or Gowalla their growth has exploded across the US and some of Canada. Combining gaming elements and using the location provided by the GPS in your smart phones, these applications allow you to “checkin” to places to earn points. Just this past weekend Foursquare exceeded 40 million checkins.
Why should you care?
When visiting a new city or wanting to eat at a different restaurant, you can see where people have been checking in to and what they have recommended to eat. Venues have a feature where you can add a tip for others to see when they checkin. Example: On Foursquare, if you checkin at Wasabi in the Normanview Crossing (in Regina), you will see my “tips” which notify you that the Bonnie and Rose roll is my favorite roll and the Roll-Bento is my favorite Bento box.
Now anywhere I go that I experience something amazing (like the Bonnie and Rose Roll at Wasabi) I can leave a note for the next person who checks in.
It doesn’t take a business strategy jedi to see how a business could benefit from location based applications. Many businesses have already begun offering discounts for those who checkin at their establishment.
In a World where word of mouth is still the most powerful medium, applications that allow us to voice our opinion more readily will increase in value. The more messages that are thrown at us via advertising efforts the more trust we will put in authentic messages from people we trust.
Are you on Foursquare or Gowalla? What is your opinion of location based applications?