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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Foursquare: Profitable Business Tactic or Waste of Time

When I joined Foursquare in September 2010, I did the standard search of my Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and Gmail contacts who already use the website. The results: two. Despite the low numbers, I joined anyway and began checking in here and there, but I quickly became bored because of the low interaction I was experiencing.

Although my encounter with Foursquare was lackluster, I recently read a post on the Los Angeles Times Technology Blog about how successful the company has been in the past year. It claims that the website saw a 3,400 percent growth in 2010, and the number of users is now up to 6,000,000. In addition, Foursquare has shown strength against Facebook’s Places app that many believed would kill the smaller company.

I figured that with such large growth, I should give Foursquare another try, and there had to be more people I knew that were now active users. I did the same search, but yet again was disappointed with the results. Excluding companies, only three of my Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and Gmail contacts were even signed up for the website. Numbers don’t lie, and there is no disputing that Foursquare is growing at an astonishing rate. However, I don’t see it making any sort of impact around me at all. I acknowledge that it could be the demographic of the people I associate with (middle class, mid-western, college students), but I’m just not sure why I don’t see it catching on.

I read in articles and hear in class about how important it is for companies to be on top of social media, but from personal experience as a public relations intern at Greater Twin Cities United Way and through my personal social media usage, I know that it takes valuable time and resources to maintain it all. My question for you is this: Is Foursquare really worth it? So many companies are still trying to get a solid grasp on how to use Facebook and Twitter; is it realistic to advise them that getting involved with Foursquare will be beneficial to their business?
Jillian Ryks
University of Minnesota
Jour 3279
Blog Assignment