Besides Twitter, I have become mildly interested in using Four Square – rather, I am using it now, occasionally, but I don’t feel like I’m using it to its full capacity. Too few friends in the service, it seems masturbatory. Too many, and it might become a hum of noise, with less signal. But seeing as I’m still in the no-signal phase, I figure, I might as well try and find some more people to hook up with and digitally stalk.*
For those who have no idea what Four Square is, think of it like Twitter, with maps. Using your mobile phone, you can quickly “check-in” at any location you’re at. Friends that you follow appear as they check-in with the service. And continuing the Twitter likening, the service can “tweet” your check-in, complete with an address. DarrenBarefoot.com has a nice piece on it.
The service likes to promote this as a way for people to see what you’re doing and go meet up with you, but I think it’s more like a way to find our more about your town. Someone’s having a good meal at a restaurant you’d never hear of? Add it to your to-do list. Done! And it’s way more intuitive than dumping your phone’s GPS coordinates into a tweet. Someone has some good information about a location, some handy tip? They can add that for you to find as well.
Some businesses are even using the site as a way to reach out to customers, as they can use the service to tell people about their business, and add in little incentives (ie “Tell them Bob sent you and get free cheesy bread!”)
So far the service is growing, which is good, as it means more feedback about your town. Or even better, as I discovered in my holiday trip back East, it means more feedback from towns your are visiting! A quick snap-shot of your alien surroundings!
It’s possible another service will replace this one, but the current trends tends towards services linking together, rather than trying to be everything to everyone (as mentioned, Four Square already links to Twitter. It also links you to a Facebook account. In fact, you do not have to sign up to yet another website, instead you can just use your Facebook account.) For now, Four Square appears to be stable and growing.
*Digitally Stalking in this case does not mean ferreting out details about another’s life online. It’s more like;
“Lee’s at Colour Your World.”
All from the comfort o your couch! The future is here!