It’s game over, Foursquare. After several years of intermittent playing, I’ve decided to pack it all in and delete my account from the site. I’m no longer happy to take a service without questioning the value and cost to me and Foursquare doesn’t break even anymore.
Foursquare may have been at the forefront of gamification and I like games, honing skill and strategy to succeed, but the problem with Foursquare was that the limit of expertise was how much time you can spend in a local hostelry. Yes, there were occasional benefits of being a mayor, but most places that rewarded frequent visitors ran a loyalty programme anyway. Of course, the really good shops and restaurants knew you because they paid attention.
The reviews helped maintain interest for awhile but the puerile (“the waitress is hot”) and trivial (“the drinks were nice”) usually outweighed any valuable critical assessment of places to visit. In the end, I didn’t bother putting the app back on my smartphone after changing devices and that was the end of it all.
I’m not going to leave my personal data lying around for the next security breach, so it’s time to delete the account. To its credit, Foursquare make it easy to go.
There are times when big changes call for a new look. Foursquare has had many things change since Swarm came into existence. Today, the company unveiled a brand new logo.
They give some reasoning behind the new logo in their blog. “We designed it to be a mix of map pin and superhero emblem. We’ve always thought of Foursquare as giving you superpowers to explore your city, and our new logo reflects that vision.”
The superhero logo is eye-catching. That being said, there are other new changes that I think people will be more interested in than the logo. The biggest one has to do with check-ins. “First, starting tomorrow, we’re moving all check-ins to our new app, Swarm. Don’t worry; all your past check-ins, all your friends, all your photos, they’re all automatically in Swarm.”
It is clear that users of Foursquare are being encouraged to start using Swarm (which in some ways replaces what Foursquare used to be). The blog says: “For everyone still using Foursquare to check-in, you’ll need to download Swarm to keep checking in.”
I think this will irritate many of the people who used to enjoy Foursquare before it changed. It was controversial when Swarm changed how mayorships were done. (Instead of their being one mayor of a particular place, there are now multiple mayors – one for each grouping of friends). That was enough for many to stop using Foursquare and to swear they would never use Swarm.
Now, you have to use Swarm in order to keep doing check-ins through Foursquare. No Swarm – no ability to check-in. Oh, but you can use Swarm without Foursquare and still have the ability to check-in to places.
Foursquare is becoming a “personalized local search”. It can be used to help you find a local place for lunch, dinner, coffee, and more. “Once you teach Foursquare a couple of things about you – add tastes, follow experts, or even just walk around for a few days – the app will be 100% yours”, says the blog. Foursquare is transforming into something completely different than what it used to be. It remains to be seen if people will consider this change to be “super”.
Foursquare has announced that it will be making changes as it prepares to release Swarm. One change that is causing a bit of controversy involves the way that Foursquare is assigning mayorships.
In the past, it was possible to use Foursquare to check in to your favorite coffee shop. The person that checked in the most frequently (in a 60 day timeframe) would be given the title of “mayor” of that particular coffee shop. Other people who also used Foursquare could compete in an effort to oust the current mayor (and claim the title for themselves).
Starting May 9, 2014, there will be no more ousting of mayors in the Foursquare app. Instead, the app will continue to show the current mayor “frozen in place”. Those who are currently a mayor of a particular location will be able to see those mayorships on his or her profile.
The change is being done to make way for Mayors 2.0. You no longer will be competing against all 50,000,000 people who use Foursquare for the mayorship of your favorite coffee shop. Instead, the competition will be limited to your group of friends. The person within that group of friends who has been to that coffee shop the most will get a crown sticker to show that he or she is mayor of it.
This means that there will no longer be one mayor of a particular location. There will be many mayors now (one for each circle of friends). Some people feel that this takes all the fun out of having a mayorship.
If you’re like me, you might have been frustrated with how Klout is scoring your online presence. It seems like score nose-dives for no reason. However, there is a new program on the block in Kred.
What is Kred / Klout?
Just like Klout, Kred is an influence scoring system. It measures how much reach you get on Twitter. If you post, it notes it; if you get re-tweeted, it notes that.
Your Kred can be broken down. On the graphic to this post, you see my global Kred. However, I can choose the drop-down and find out what my Kred is for Social Media, tech, podcasters, and other keywords.
Kred is in beta and only connects to Twitter at this time. It looks like they will be adding LinkedIn and Facebook soon. Klout, on the other hand measures to those three plus Google +, Foursquare, YouTube, and a host of other sites (if you participate on them).
Kred gives Influence Points every time there is an exchange that indicates someone inspired another person to take action: replying to them, mentioning them in a post, retweeting their content, or following them or their list.
Kred assigns 10 points for the most common actions like being @replied, retweeted or mentioned in a conversation. More points are given for events that have bigger impact, like having a message retweeted by someone with more than 10,000 followers.
From time to time, Klout offers perks like gift certificates, gifts, and invitations to closed betas (like when Google Plus was in beta). You can check the Klout perks to find out what you can participate in.
Why Should We Measure Kred / Klout Score?
You might think it’s vein to check your score, but it’s no different than a marketing company checking production on their sales or work. Once you know what your reach is, you can work on improving it. For instance, I have high marks in podcasting, but lower marks in Social Media. I can now focus on building that area.
Kred states it’s the “Nielsons of online”. If people can find your influential in an area, they may just call you up to give you work. For those of us who work for ourselves, getting jobs handed to us sounds like a very delightful thought.
It’s a good idea to see what people recognize you as. If you want to break into a specific field, you want to follow those who are leading. You might even become a leader yourself. Just like a good marketing department follows sales through a third-party company, you can do the same with these two programs.
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Back in the very early part of the 1990’s, the tech world villain of choice was IBM, and the underdog was Microsoft. As the 1990’s progressed, IBM began to move into the background and Microsoft took over the role as tech villain.
Windows 3.0 was the version that really started making waves in a big way. It was buggy and unreliable, but it offered a glimpse of the potential personal computers presented. Windows 3.0 made it possible to pick from a wide variety of standardized computer hardware parts and put them together and have a working personal computer that could do rudimentary multitasking. Windows succeeded because it worked on an open hardware platform. That same open platform forever cemented The Windows’ Curse.
In 2010 the new tech villain is Google. Smartphones are the new computers of choice. Google Android is the new Windows 3.0 morphing into 3.1, 3.11, and Windows 95.
My fear is that Google Android is doomed to repeat the muddled path of Windows.
Here is why.
My HTC Evo was recently updated to Android 2.2 “Froyo.” All well and good. However, the Android apps I have installed are constantly being updated. Fine – I can see how that would happen. However, I’m noticing that some of them no longer work. Incompatibilities are creeping in. The latest victim of Android upgrade fail is the latest Android version of the Foursquare app, which causes my phone to spontaneously reboot a few seconds after I open the app.
The Windows Curse is in very real danger of becoming The Android Curse.
The open platform is both a blessing and a blight. Open platforms are great so long as they are small. Once they become the majority market leader, their very openness makes them vulnerable to of errors of confusion as well as a giant security target.
It’s probably time for some company to start producing antivirus and antispyware software for Android phones. And it may also be time for some of us to start fleeing for the higher ground of walled garden dictatorships.
I spend some time talking about the SXSW and my experience there. I give you a small sound bite from Cuban and Avner debate which was really good. SXSW was a interesting experience, while pretty good for networking, the evening parties was not the places to do business.