Location, location, location!

March 26, 2010 by  

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This is me…if I lived in New York…and didn’t have a car…and had wicked facial hair.  I’d be on my phone while biking. For a while I was good about not doing this while driving (thanks to this video, definitely watch it, but be warned it’s graffic). But to my wife’s strong disapproval, I still sneak it in.

I’m that guy that always has to have my phone in my hands. And not for the calls! Not even for texting! For Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, ESPN and my latest compulsion: Checking in.

It’s location-based social networking. I know some of you barely get the idea of social networking as it is and now I’m talking about this.  In some ways, the addition of real world location might actually make social networking easier to grasp and in some ways, it might make it harder.

so·cial net·work·ing: a combination of websites, desktop and mobile applications that allow users to connect and share*

As the use of social networking has evolved, networks have begun to focus around ideas, concepts and niches. In a previous post I quoted a friend who said, “LinkedIn is for people that I’ve worked with. Facebook is for people I knew in school and growing up. Twitter is for people that I want to know.” MySpace is now, and originally was intended, to be more focused on music. YouTube, videos. Ustream, live shows. Flickr, photos. Each having competitors and imitators.

Location-Based Social Networking

The newest hype in social networking is centered on location (Twitter just added that option). GPS-enabled smartphones really opened the door to new kinds of interaction, interaction in the real world! It was a logical jump. One of the best parts of Twitter for me was the tweetups. In fact, I’ve read that location-sensitive devices in combination of location-based advertising has been in the plans of Google & Microsoft for years. Two frontrunners have appeared in this arena: Foursquare & Gowalla. The idea basically is, as you are out, use these apps to send out a status update about the places you go to and the things you do. If you go to dinner to your favorite local spot, check in and let people know. Leave tips. Leave reviews.


If you follow the rule that states, “It is better to be first than it is to be better,” then this is where you hitch your wagon. Foursquare was really the first out of the gate and they have a great deal of backing. What helped it really catch on was that it is basically a game. You get points for when you check in. You get points for when you add a spot or leave a tip. Those points add up and earn you badges: Newbie, Wanderer, Local, Super User, etc. It’s 100% a gimmick to get you to use it and the genius is that it works. It works even to the point that people cheat to get these virtual awards!


  • Badges, Awards & Achievements: Trust me it gets you going when you get these virtual enticements. It almost feels like life became a video game!
  • Lots of Users: Not having enough people to interact with will kill a social network (just ask Google Wave), and Foursquare has the moment.
  • Integration: I love having the ability to pass my activity on to my Twitter or Facebook. I love that there is an app on Android as well as the current mobile app king, iPhone (sorry Blackberry). **Update: Foursquare just added a Windows Mobile 7 App!


  • Logo: It’s ridiculous that I care, but I hate the purple ball and the teal-ish/bluey square. They recently updated the Android app which gave it a much needed facelift.
  • Address Based or Worse: Foursquare locations are tied to addresses and that causes some inaccuracy on the map. If someone adds a location and takes the time to add the right location, then it’s better, but if they just slap the minimum info, it can be off.


In Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell tells us that if the right people wear penny loafers they’ll explode as the new fashion. The right person for me was Gary Vaynerchuk and the shoe was Gowalla. I can’t say definitively which is better but there are some things Gowalla has done better than Foursquare.  Same basic idea in a little bit prettier package in my opinion. I like Gowalla’s categories and icons better.  I like that it is seems to be tied to GPS coordinates rather than street address which is more accurate (think about the distance between stores in big shopping centers or malls).


  • Achievements, Trips, Goodies: Ultimately it’s all still virtual and a whole lotta nothing but I like some of the enticements of Gowalla. Particularly, I like the trips feature, brings in a little more geocaching/treasure hunt to the experience.
  • Accuracy: As I mentioned, it appears that Gowalla goes off of exact GPS coordinates when mapping spots.
  • Integration: Still have the ability to pass my activity on to my Twitter or Facebook. Gowalla did start with apps for all three major mobile platforms, iPhone, Android and Blackberry, which I’m happy about for my Crackberry friends!


  • Users: There’s not as many users which means it could die off.
  • Phone Numbers: I like that Foursquare has the ability to add phone numbers for the locations, and so far I haven’t seen where Gowalla does that.

The REAL Game

Somebody might call me out and point out the Yelp has been around for while doing the same thing. Yes and no. Yelp and competing sites are review sites. Sure it’s a narrow distinction but I’m pretty sure Foursquare is feeding reviews into Yelp!

You: What?! You mean I’m being tricked into crowdsourcing reviews for other companies?!

Cynical Me: I think so! How’s it feel to be a pawn? Do you like your completely fabricated rewards?

Real Me: Ehh…Who cares! That’s great! Good for them! Pretty creative! I get out of it what I want from it and so I can’t complain. I benefit from those reviews too!

What do you think? Do you use either of them?

Mobile Blogging…Literally

February 23, 2010 by  

So I’m lying in bed, writing this post, while listening to the new Ok Go album, all from my phone! It’s ridiculous how much of a fanboy I am of the Motorola Droid! This picture…got the link while doing all this! It’s called multi-tasking…take that iPhone!

YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, ESPN, Google Reader, Google Buzz, Gmail, Google Maps…basically everything Google. All from my phone! I’m one of those guys that basically needs internet access pumped directly into my bloodstream and the Droid is my IV. Yes, I know I’m an addict.

Being a Verizon-Loyalist/AT&T-Hater, I envied all the capabilities and apps the iPhone had. I waited year after year for the iPhone to come to Verizon, but it’s still “next year”.

With Android, I finally have an app-friendly phone! So many cool apps! My favorites:

  • Qik- Broadcast video straight from your phone to Facebook, YouTube & Twitter
  • PhoneMyPC- Access & control your computer from your phone
  • WorldTour- Changes the background on my phone to live images around the world: Times Square, the Pyramids, the Effiel Tower, Boston Harbor, Sydney Harbor, etc.
  • Rhapsody Beta- They finally released a beta for the subscription music service that I love! I can listen to anything, anytime, as many times as I want!

So far I’ve convinced two guys from work to get a Droid. I wish I had to disclose endorsements or getting paid for any of the products I’ve mentioned but, unfortunately, I am not being paid for any of this! If any of the aforementioned companies want to pay me I would be glad to offer my endorsement!

P.S. This post was written on the new WordPress app!

The Twitterization of Facebook

March 16, 2009 by  

Kicking & Screaming
: It seems like Facebook is going
to compete with Twitter whether it’s 100’s of millions of
users want it or not!

@joelcomm: 8 million Twitter users is nothing compared to 160 million Facebook users. Yes, it’s big. But you ain’t seen nuttin’ yet.

Facebook has made some curious moves lately:

– Facebook homepage redesigned with statuses front & center.
– Facebook opening up option to display profiles publicly.

Twitter: The Little Site that Could

Why are they doing this? Answer: Twitter. Joel Comm calls it “the water cooler of the 21st century.” Gary Vaynerchuck calls it “the little site that could.” Many have viewed these moves as a way for Facebook to compete with Twitter. With Twitter on the rise, it seems like an obvious and necessary move for Facebook. The two sites are very similar and have emerged as the two heavy hitters in the social media landscape. But is it really necessary for Facebook to become Twitter?

Integrating Facebook & Twitter

Many Twitter users have been looking for ways to integrate the two for a long time. Services like Ping.fm and Twitter’s own Facebook app have been used to sync across both networks. More recently, third party Twitter apps like Seesmic (Twhirl)PeopleBrowsr.com and the newest TweetDeck release have added Facebook integration. Generally, Twitter users don’t have issues with using both!

I guess there are some Twitter loyalists out there:

@johnmorgan: Best way for Facebook to be more like twitter? Stop sucking.

Even Demi Moore prefers Tweeting:

@mrskutcher:Facebook is cool but Twitter is the sh*t!

A friend of mine, Jordan Brown, says that, “LinkedIn is for people that I’ve worked with. Facebook is for people I knew in school and growing up. Twitter is for people that I want to know.” That’s how I use it. I don’t necessarily think Facebook needs to make a play at edging out Twitter.

The Shiny New Toy

The problem I see is with Facebook users. Facebook is a great place to connect, to share and to keep up. For some users, Facebook is all they use: no more emailing, no more blogging, no more instant messaging outside of it! Even with all that functionality being overwhelming for some, it’s been a winning formula and Facebook has grown to 160+ million users. 

In comes Twitter, with its explosion of users, both everyday and celebrity. It’s the newest, shiniest toy for many people.

Jimmy Fallon is trying to get one of his audience members followers than Barack Obama Twitter account.

Ellen Degeneres overtook Levar Burton and now has her sights on MC Hammer.

But there’s a problem assuming everyone wants the same thing. Facebook serves a certain need and it has done it very well. Is it worth disenchanting Facebook’s established user-base to edge out Twitter? I’ve already seen numerous complaints about the new design. Just search for “keep the old design” in Facebook and look how many Facebook groups there are!

Here are some questions I’ve been asking:

Is Facebook looking to capitalize on an “inevitable” collapse of the revenue-less Twitter?

Will Facebook users warm to the new functionality or will there be another exodus (like the one over the recently discarded TOS revison)?

What do you think?

Here’s a great post on the same idea by Rachel Levy: Does Facebook have Twitter-envy?

Photo by hyperscholar

How Do You Process All This Information?!

July 22, 2008 by  

Photo by rwp-roger

Photo by rwp-roger

I have 28 34 (and counting) blogs that I read through my Google Reader. I follow 100 +600 people on Twitter & Plurk (thanks to ProBlogger). I find more and more friends from childhood, high school, college, etc. on Facebook everyday. How do I process all this information!?

I’ve actually cut down the number of blogs that I read (I had some that would post 5-6 times a day)! My reading of ZenHabits has got me to try and simplify. But at the same time, I just added like 80 people to my Twitter/Plurk/Facebook! One good thing is that the additions are not as demanding as the blogs. Which reminds me! I have like 5-6 books that I want to read!

I guess it comes down to priority. What priority is all of this information for me to get through? How thoroughly do I want to digest each source? It’s pretty easy to “fill up on junk food” with all the social networking. Even some of the blogs are low-nutrition! I know that I should spend more time of the information that has the best return on investment (i.e. books, quality blog posts & family info streams). Being that I aspire to income generating blogging, I also need to invest time into developing contacts and relationships. So, while there is going to be a good deal of personally irrelevant info, I do plan on spending time with my “new” friends.

Anyone else dealing with this? How do you handle it?

This post is part of my Information Overload Series

  1. How Do You Process All This Information?!
  2. Waiting on Diamonds to Play with the Rough