Posts Tagged ‘foursquare’

Video spoof sheds light on journalism’s obsession with social media

October 20th, 2010

Illustration by Matt Hamm

If you were to sit in on a meeting with the digital media team of any news organization, you’d hear discussion about Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, YouTube and just about every other hot tech start-up that is playing a role in redefining the media landscape.

While the benefits of using social media are obvious, there comes a point where we have to ask: How much is too much? How much should a news organization rely on social media in its newsgathering-process, and how much should the “old-school” methods be utilized to gather info? The answer depends on the news organization, but KDFW has produced a spoof video (below) that is going viral. The video pokes fun at social media obsession in newsgathering.

Posted to its Facebook page on Monday, the video pokes fun at every social media tool and journalism’s increasing obsession with each. Some of the video highlights include a reporter who doesn’t say a word on TV, instead choosing to share news by sending tweets from his mobile phone; it showcases a reporter taking a picture with a corpse so she can post it to her Facebook page; and a reporter who checks-in on FourSquare to get coupons while reporting on-scene.

According to the Dallas Observer, the video looks to have debuted at the Lone Star Emmys. Here it is:

- Cross-posted to Future of Media

Facebook launches ‘Places’ check-in feature

August 19th, 2010
Facebook has announced a new feature that allows users to “check-in” to a venue and tell their friends where they are. The feature is available via the Facebook iPhone app and from Facebook’s mobile website. It’s currently only available to U.S. users.

Facebook’s new “Places” feature is designed to let friends share their location as well as see who else is at a venue. The service is almost exactly the same as Foursquare, the leading location-based app that made the term “check-in” mainstream.

In a post on Facebook’s official blog last night, Facebook announced the new Places feature that allows people to share their location in real-time from a mobile device.

“Ever gone to a show, only to find out afterward that your friends were there too?” Michael Eyal Sharon, Facebook’s mobile product manager, wrote in the company’s announcement. “With Places, you can discover moments when you and your friends are at the same place at the same time. You have the option to share your location by ‘checking in’ to that place and letting friends know where you are. You can easily see if any of your friends have also chosen to check in nearby.”

To use the feature, Facebook users need to download the most recent version of the iPhone application or visit The Facebook mobile site will only work for users with a smartphone that has a mobile browser that supports HTML 5 and geolocation.

Once using the application or mobile website, users click the “Check In” button to see a list of places nearby. Users click on the appropriate venue and if it’s not available, they can add it. Once checked-in, a Facebook user’s friends will be notified of the user’s whereabouts in their News Feeds.

“Places is only available in the United States right now,” Sharon wrote. “But we expect to make it available to more countries and on additional mobile platforms soon.” When a user is checked-in, he or she can tag friends that are with them and post an update to tell friends what’s going on at that venue.

The app also boasts a “People Here Now” section so a user can see his or her friends that are at the same location. Users who don’t want to be visible to others need to change their privacy settings.

“This section is visible for a limited amount of time and only to people who are checked in there,” Sharon writes. “That way you can meet other people who might share your interests. If you prefer not to appear in this section, you can control whether you show up by unchecking the ‘Include me in People Here Now after I check in’ privacy control.”

If you’re with someone who checks you in to a Place, you will receive a notification on Facebook and on your mobile. Facebook says the first time this happens, you’ll be given the choice to allow your friends to check you in to places. If you opt-in to share check-in data with third-party applications, Facebook will share that information with them as well.

Facebook’s Places feature is almost a complete copy of Foursquare. At one point, Facebook tried to buy the company but Foursquare CEO Jack Crowley turned down the offer. Foursquare is backed by $21.4 million in funding from some notable investors including Ron Conway, Kevin Rose, Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures, to name a few.

Foursquare has more than one million “check-ins” every day and Crowley said the company is nearing three million users. But with Facebook boasting a user-base of more than 500 million people, some wonder if the new Places feature will kill the growing startup.

Facebook invited Foursquare and competitor Gowalla to the launch of Places and Facebook said it’s been working on the project for nearly eight months.

That said, it seems as though Foursquare didn’t have early access to the feature and Crowley told VentureBeat he wants to “mess around with it for a week or two” before the company determines how it will integrate with Facebook.

To take a tour of Facebook Places, visit the site here.

Foursquare in talks with search engines over data partnership

July 19th, 2010
The company behind the social “check-in” application Foursquare says it’s now in talks with Google, Microsoft and Yahoo about a data partnership. Foursquare says check-in data could help search engines enhance results.

Foursquare is a location-based social network used on mobile devices. Members of the service launch an application or send a text message when they arrive at a venue or destination and click on a “check-in” button. The more a user checks-in to various locations, the more points he or she is awarded. The user also unlocks “badges” for special activities and can become the “mayor” of a venue if they check in there more often than others.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley says he has been speaking with “everyone” in the search space including big companies such as Yahoo, Microsoft and Google, about a possible data deal. “Our data generates hugely interesting trends which would enrich search,” Crowley said. “We can anonymize data and use it to show venues which are trending at that moment. Twitter helped the world and the search engines know what people are talking about. Foursquare would allow people to search for the types of place people are going to – and where is trending – not what.”

According to the Telegraph, big search engines deny they’re in talks with Foursquare, but also refused to provide statements to media inquiries.

Foursquare has not indicated when a deal may be inked with search partners, but Crowley said the company is excited about its ongoing discussions with “a lot of different potential partners” who could benefit from Foursquare data.

When asked to comment about the possibility of joining forces with competitor Gowalla, Crowley told the Telegraph, “We are more social than Gowalla and ultimately have different visions moving forward. They are excited about different things.”

Crowley created an earlier version of Foursquare called Dodgeball which was acquired by Google in 2005 and shut down in 2009. Crowley says he remains close with “the guys at Google” and he currently employs a few Google employees.

Foursqure boasts more than two million members and recently finished a $20 million investment round by Silicon Valley venture capital company, Andreessen Horowitz. Foursquare is now valued at $95 million.

Foursquare’s potential data deals are similar to Twitter’s first commercial agreements in which the company decided to sell data to help search engines keep track of the real-time Web.

As critics point out, it would be a big deal for Foursquare if it landed agreements with big search engines, but it may still be too early to pull out the bubbly to celebrate. “It’s an attractive idea in theory, though it’s difficult to see this data being widely useful just yet; Foursquare’s two million users are impressive, but not enough to shed much light on what places people in general are going to,” writes Nick Saint of Business Insider. If search companies throw much money Foursquare’s way, it will be a bet on the startup’s future.