Move Over, Hairy Drifter. FourSquare @ Your Local Hop

It’s okay if you’re still scratching your head over the FourSquare piece in the Chicago Tribune.

What is FourSquare? The Trib. describes it nicely:
“Playing Foursquare involves exploring restaurants, pubs and coffee shops in major metro areas. The payoff for playing can range from special deals or freebies at eating and drinking establishments to scoring points, Boy Scout-like badges and ‘mayorships,’ essentially bragging rights for hanging out at particular locations.”

So you earn merit badges and free stuff for places you already go, things you already do. Sweet.

Whoa, Nellie. Cue ye auld business model. Again, via the Tribune:
“Foursquare is focused on getting as many businesses as possible to add discounts and other promotions to Foursquare, said Tristan Walker, who is in charge of business development and is a second-year student at Stanford Business School.”

Are we cool sharing our getaways with another logo? I’m still getting over seeing birdies and “follow us on Facebook” messages on everything from the bus to bathroom walls. Yeesh.

For retailers, this is a no brainer. For the organic and grassroots set, you may need to ask yourself if a corporate partnership will help or harm your brand identify.

Am I complaining? Heck no. It’s called the Virgin America Terminal at LAX. Just a hint.

Social Media & The Military

In honor of the world’s service men and women and Veterans Day in the US, I wanted to do a piece devoted to social media and the military.

The US is still reeling from last week’s tragedy and leveraging both offline and online networks for comfort and a greater sense of community. Not surprisingly, the military community (families and soldiers included) relied on social media – namely Twitter – for the latest real-time information. In fact, it wasn’t long before both media departments and other social media channels like Facebook were flooded with anxious consumers.

I wonder if Biz Stone knew he was creating quite possibly the biggest communication tool next to the Internet and telephone. Whether a natural, political or human-related disaster, consumers (and we’re talking social media novices included) have gone from asking “what is Twitter” to “what is Twitter saying?”

Increasingly, military community social networks are cropping up. Those with a business model to supplement – not substitute – big dogs like Facebook or Twitter will surely find a strong foothold. MyVetwork is a great example.

“MyVetwork as the first-ever, custom designed social network we will build together, for ourselves and those who follow, and to honor those before us,” says founder and retired Marine John R. Campbell.