Last year at SXSW, Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley joined Frank Eliason (previously @comcastcares), Altimeter Group’s Jeremiah Owyang and me on stage to discuss the shifting landscape of social engagement. While I focused on the sociology of engagement and the impact it is having on culture and society, I also sought to balance the conversation by demonstrating the impact of digital actions and interaction between people and businesses.
Whether intentional or not, Crowley and team unlocked the elusive gates that separated the last mile of engagement between local businesses and their customers and prospective patrons. The rising generation of social consumers embraced geo-location services to share physical experiences, connect with their social graph in the real world and also earn rewards for their check-ins, which is rapidly becoming a powerful form of peer-to-peer endorsements and recommendations. Crowley, quite literally gamed the system that was once solely controlled by giants such as the Yellow Pages, Google and Yelp. The Foursquare team bridged the gap between people and places both online and offline.
Later in the year, we caught up again for a cover story I wrote for Entrepreneur magazine.
We discussed how Foursquare redefined the role of the patron and the relationship between businesses and customers.
“The network started to take on a life of its own,” Crowley said in the interview for Entrepreneur. “Foursquare gave everyday people, venues and local merchants a voice. It opened the doors for businesses to see a whole new way of seeing their customer.”
In the Game of Foursquare, What’s the Score?
Foursquare’s rapid rise from New York startup to media darling is quite remarkable. If you judge the service by its badge, or shall we say badges, you might miss the bigger picture. The essence of Foursquare is powered by its community. In this mobile Utopia, people earn positions of prominence by exploring and improving the experiences of other explorers. It’s a form of social hierarchy that’s alluring and rewarding. For a more recent example, it’s not unlike the fledgling blog darling Quora. The ties that bind its users are woven through social ties and recognition that’s earned through participation and contribution.
Foursquare continues to evolve and the team recently released an infographic that visualized collective achievements and user behavior. To make it easier to consume and also appreciate its progress, let’s review some key milestones.
In 2010, Foursquare experienced 3,400-percent growth over 2009, reaching 6,000,000 users to date.
This year, Foursquare received over 380 million check-ins.
The largest swarm to date is the Rally to Restore Sanity, which saw over 35,000 check-ins on October 30th, 2010.
A Day in the Life
The team also revealed a “day in the life” of the typical Foursquare user.
Most people check-in to eateries, gaining momentum at 8 a.m. every day and thinning out just after midnight.
Check-ins to work or the office also follow a similar pattern. Work days typically seem to see the greatest volume of check-ins between 7 – 8 a.m. continuing to midnight.