Three Reasons Foursqaure is NOT the new Twitter

Earlier this week, declared that Foursquare is the new Twitter. While I love the game aspects of the popular iPhone app, and I definitely see the benefit for venues and other organizations, I am highly suspect of Foursquare’s ability to reach into the mainstream the way Facebook and Twitter have. Here’s why:

The size of your network doesn’t matter.

While we like to think that social media is more about quantity than quality, the size of a network can greatly affect the usefulness of that network. In other words, the more people that are part of your network, in theory, the more resources you have. It’s true that networks like Twitter can get overwhelming after your network reaches a certain size, yet tools such as clients and groups can help you focus on what’s most important to you. At this time, having more connections on Foursquare does not improve the quality of your network and in fact can make it less useful (think about a busy Saturday night where people are checking in left and right; and if you’re competing for points, well, you just have more people to compete against). Additionally, there’s no point in expanding your network beyond people you personally know.

Communication is a one-way street.

Clearly, one of the most powerful aspects of FB and Twitter are the ability to communicate with people both publicly and privately. Two-way communication is what makes them powerful PR tools for businesses, and allows people to engage each other. At this time, no such functionality exists for Foursquare. Maybe it’s coming in the future, and it’s great if it is. For now, if a friend checks in somewhere and I want to say something to them, I cannot do it via Foursquare. I can if they broadcast it on Twitter also, but that means I have to actually find their tweet to respond.

What happens when the game gets old?

O.k. so collecting badges and mayorships is kinda fun. There’s a bit of a thrill when you get one, as well as when you get extra points for adding a new location. I don’t know about others, but this gets kind of old after a while. Granted, I’m not a bar-hopping socialite, so maybe my experience is quite different than others’ experiences. That said, what happens when users get tired of competing with their friends who do go out constantly?

I may be being a Debbie Downer here, but as a social network, Foursquare has some major holes in it. I’m sure Foursquare is developing a lot of groovy features that add value not just for venues, but also for users. And until then, Foursquare will remain a game that people like to play, but may wear out after a time.


  1. Rebecca

    It is definitely different depending on the demographic. I am currently mayor of a Subway, Petsmart & Day Spa. Somehow I don’t see myself becoming mayor of a bar. Although I do want to figure out how to unlock the “I’m On A Boat” badge.

  2. Dan

    I’ve been on the fence with FourSquare for some time so I decided to really give it a go last week. I checked in all over the place added new venues, became mayor of my office and unlocked badges. At the end of the week I thought, who really cares? How vain am I that I think someone wants to know what bars I’m at all the time.

    Further more I found people trying to rack up points by creating worthless venues like, “The kitchen at work” or “The bathroom at work”. Other people check in every single place they stop, guess what hipsters you aren’t that important. If you want to use FourSquare I don’t knock you, I may still play with it on occasion but please stop sending a tweet with every check in people.

  3. Daniel

    I’m totally with you, especially about the people that make up BS places.

    And seriously, why do we need to know that you’re in the bathroom?

  4. legendswife

    OK…You made me Google what foursquare is about. My first reaction: this is not twitter. This looks like a third grader rigged this together. To top it off, you can follow them on twitter

  5. thebaltimorechop

    I don’t like it either, which is ironic since I have a daily blog whose content is nothing but me being a barhopping socialite and going out all over town. I’ve also got days off, and could easily be #1 in Baltimore if I wanted to, but what the hell is the point?

    One thing you failed to mention though, is that from what I’ve seen, 4sq doesn’t translate into ACTUAL SOCIAL INTERACTION. many people might check in from one pub, but they don’t bother to talk to each other while they’re there. That’s the real shame of it.

  6. Daniel

    Totally agree with you. There’s no social interaction on foursquare. Does that mean it’s not really social?

    I was thinking similarly about Chatroulette. I mean, while there’s social interaction, there’s no “network” involved. In that respect, it’s the opposite of foursquare.

  7. thebaltimorechop

    maybe. Or it means we’re not really social. There seems to be an inverse relationship between the amount of new social media people use, and say, the amount of phonecalls they make. You might know more about that than I do. It would make for some interesting blogging.

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