Location, Location, Location – It’s Where I Am
Experiment with using at least one of the location-based checkin services for one week. It may be difficult, but in doing this, remember to try to find ways to, again, be relevant to your topic of focus. Leave some tips for others. Reflect on class blog on the experience; what do you see as the best opportunities for journalists and public relations practitioners in this space?
The people that decide to “play” Foursquare can immediately see a difference in the way they participate in their social environment. One could conclude that, a major side effect of playing the game is that it inspires users to lead more active and interesting social lives.
The impact that is created by everyone “checking-in” – even just once – has a huge advantage and positive or negative effect on every single business around you. Positive tips and statements are essentially free advertisements and negative ones are warning to the business that they could be in trouble. You’re simply letting your family, friends and colleagues, as well as anyone connected to you on other social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, know where you are enjoying or not enjoying yourself. If everyone multiplies a single check-in by the thousands of other participants who each regularly update their location status, you’ve essentially put experience on a map in a social way.
I’ve been a long time user of Foursquare and go through bouts of remembering to check-in and then forget about it for semi-long periods of time before I suddenly become addicted again. It’s a cycle for me but typically it starts when I’m traveling. For some reason, I remember to “check-in” more often when I am on the road or in a different city than when I am just out and about in my hometown. After discussing Foursquare in class, I began “checking-in” and have been better with my consistency. I have even gained a couple of new mayorships, including the neighborhood of Humes Heights and actually stole one from our very own @Brizzyc, although admittedly she stole in back within a few days. She’s fast on that check-in! I arrived at the Crews Center only minutes after her and she had already reclaimed her rightful title.
Typically, I use Foursquare because i am addicted to getting badges and seeing what new badges are out there but I rarely use it for reviews when I am not actually “checking-in” somewhere. However, I’ve checked to see if anyone has left a tip for what they thought was yummy at a restaurant I have never been before. I hear that people get all sorts of free stuff but honestly, I have never received anything free from Foursquare. I get offers for American Express all the time and have seen where the mayor of certain restaurants will get a free appetizer or cocktail. Do you know how many checkins it takes to become mayor of anyplace worth eating?!?! So, on that note I hear that Yelp businesses offer free things for just checking-in on the Yelp app and from now on, I will be taking advantage of that in order to see what’s out there. I won’t be letting Foursquare go though because I still want to earn my level 4 beach bunny badge this summer! I also wrote a Yelp review for the first time this week. It was about best friend’s son’s birthday party experience at Putt Putt Golf & Games (& LaserTag). You can read it here. I typically don’t write reviews on sites because I always want them to be some sort of amazingly insightful, creative, and well-written piece of literature. However, I think I may give it a shot more often because there are many awesome businesses that I frequent who deserve someone to at least give them a thumbs up, 5 stars, or a short sentence or two. Who knows, maybe i’ll become a Yelp elite.
I think people working in Public Relations and/or Advertising should add Foursquare and Yelp to their list of review sites to monitor on a daily and weekly basis. If you’re running a business or responsible for what the community thinks of a business, then you need to know everything that anyone says in regards to said business. Foursquare and Yelp tend to be good gauges of the community’s sentiment towards your establishment. I constantly use Yelp when looking for new places to eat when traveling – it’s an unbiased review. That being said – you need to filter like anywhere else on the internet. If someone gives a restaurant 1 star and explains that it was because their food didn’t arrive within 10 minutes of them sitting down, read some other reviews because these people could easily be “those” type of people. Or tif someone complains that the menu is overpriced – check the menu – the reviewers may have been looking for something different and wandered into a restaurant without checking the prices or their budget may be different than yours. Most reviews on any site need a good pair of eyes and a person using common sense to sort through. Finally, I think that one could use Foursquare to see what places are popular. If you happen to be a journalist, PR practitioner, or advertising professional, you could then write a story about this establishment, see for yourself what they may be doing that you aren’t if you’re responsible for a similar business’ community outreach, or check out their advertising to see what is working in a certain area or specific demographic. Knowledge is power people and that includes ALL knowledge. Know what is happening in your town or wherever you may be – you will never know when this will come in handy!