Despite the positive uses of Foursquare noted in my previous post, I do however have a few negatives to note about the tool that could be rectified with further development:
Target Audience: Though some brands clearly wish to connect with an adult audience, there are some badges on the platform that I (a young adult) would not want to earn or publicise. These include ‘Bender’, ‘School night’ ‘Douchebag’, ‘Gym rat’ etc. Perhaps it is this sort of slang that has limited the tool’s pick-up – it certainly seems aimed at a younger audience than the steady professional, particularly with the gaming mechanic at the centre of the tool. This might present a conflict of interest for some participating brands.
Motive: Unless there is a clear motive such as a reward for leaving tips or checking in, I can’t think of many occasions when I would actually bother. We are busy people these days after all. Not many of my friends are on Foursquare, and I’m not sure I would recommend it to the majority. Generally, my friends and I are happy to pick up a phone, send a text or use Facebook to liaise on outings, so Foursquare is a bit unnecessary.
Value: One word of advice that Lifehacker offers is not to auto-post your check-ins to Facebook or Twitter. This will prevent you deterring your social network followers with valueless updates – ‘I’m at… Blah’. Auto-posting also poses the risk of exposing your location to people who you might not wish to know, ranging from boss-figures to more sinister ‘creepy types’, so be sensible!
Region: When helping you look for brands to follow, I thought the tool could do with being more region-centric i.e. it would help to differentiate between UK pages and US pages for UK/US users.
Reach: As of April 2011, Foursquare reported that it had 8 million registered users – a fair few, but tiny when compared to Facebook’s 500 million users. Is it therefore a platform worth investing in?
N.B. This is Part 2 of 4 posts on this subject. Please do take a look at the following:
Part 1: Foursquare: Uses and Benefits
Part 3: Should Brands Use Foursquare?
Part 4: Case Studies: Brands on Foursquare