Tuesday 9 February 2010

Foursquare spam is wrecking twitter

Foursquare Gym RatImage by cote via Flickr
I have deleted my Foursquare account. Not being able to log in was a problem that was limiting the experience. The bug arose soon after I discovered that I was the first to check in at my gym. So the sweet glory of becoming mayor of my sweat-room was snatched from under my pinkies by a piece of dodgy programming.

The idea behind Foursquare (for my less geeky readers) is that it's a kind of location-based social networking iPhone app that enables discovery. As well as collecting 'badges' and gunning for 'mayorships' all over town, you can share and receive suggestions for things to do in different places.

And the best bit, you can ping your friends and your whole Twitter cabal. My Tweetdeck increasingly tells me that X is at [pizza chain], Y is at [coffeeshop chain] and Z is at [train station].

 Sorry, Rich!

Moonfruit was lambasted for its marketing campaign and yet somehow we're allowing Foursquare to fill an otherwise interesting, useful and entertaining stream of tweets with individuals' mindless attempts to become mayor of their local crack house. There is no value to your entourage of these tweets but I don't want to stop following these otherwise interesting people.

Foursquare Image by gumption via Flickr
Foursquare says to establishments, look, you can offer special discounts to the mayor, or anyone who checks in. That will encourage people to keep coming and to check in more often in order to get a cheap cardboard pot of frothy warm brown milk.

That's not a novel business model, which is why I think it has real potential to thrive. In the meantime, I'd really like an end to the growing Fourspam.