Steve Woods

Posts Tagged ‘Twitter competitor’

Why Twitter’s Gonna Eat FourSquare’s Lunch

In Social Media on November 20, 2009 at 12:33 pm

Will FourSquare be the Next Twitter? Will it? Will it?

Has some version of this cluttered up your Twitter stream lately?

Pete Cashmore, Social Media Maven, founder and CEO of @Mashable, and new blogger at CNN.com, wrote a very interesting article recently.  In it he carefully makes the case for FourSquare as possibly the next big thing in Social Media since Twitter.  I heard of FourSquare a long time ago, but thought I was too cool for things like Twitter back then, and never considered giving it a shot.

I’ve read through the article twice now, was a bit intrigued, and before hitting the road yesterday after work, tried to download the application for my iPhone.

I can’t. Well, that’s not entirely true.  I can download the app if I want to, but I’d have to lie about where I live, in order to finish signing in, and to participate in the game.  You see, there’s a very limited drop-down menu of what I am sure are exciting cities to live in. I just don’t live in one of them.  Or even near one of them.

Not really a menu, but it sure felt that way... :0(

Oh, I am sure that Amsterdam has a lot of great cafes I could sip a nice latté in.  I have no doubt I could find a banging nightclub in Bangkok, and could bust a move until people laughed at me in unison.  I hear that Dubai is pretty hot these days (no pun intended.) Hell, I’d even down shots with the cool people in Hong Kong if I could…

FourSquare is Limited in Geographical Scope, Guys

I just wanted to play too...

So there I was, sitting in my now idling car, with a new download that I’ll eventually delete from my iPhone before the next sync.  Why couldn’t I just find and add my little city, or even one of the small-to-medium ones a short drive away?  How about that nice Cajun restaurant/nightclub 25 miles away, where I am sure I’ll never run into one of Mashable’s tech-savvy folks?  Thanks, Pete...

Out of a possible 10,016 big and little cities in the United States alone, FourSquare works with 48 of them (I am assuming when they listed Rome, they didn’t mean Rome, N.Y…..)  So 1/2 of 1% U.S. coverage by an Internet-based application meant to bring people together in fellowship. Wow.  I’d help spread that further, but I can’t, because FourSquare won’t let me

Is FourSquare’s Concept Unique?

On the drive home, I thought about what a great concept FourSquare was.  Then I realized I wasn’t thinking about FourSquare at all anymore.  I was thinking about the Concept.  Were there other applications that exceeded the 0.5% reach already, and could be used in the same way that FourSquare bills itself?

Read Pete’s article all the way through.  He’s a brilliant guy, and I have to give him credit where due, because he alludes to the precarious position that FourSquare holds as possible contender for next year’s Social Media Superstar….

Twitter’s Users Already Use the Concept of FourSquare

Meet @RadarDog. He's laughing at you.

For most of us, when we log off and head out the door, we don’t tend to include in the trip or where we go the people we met on Twitter.  But I have seen on Twitter more signs of Tweet-ups, or groups of Twitter friends/followers from one area or city, meeting up and enjoying each other’s company.  And by the way, Twitter is everywhere.  Even dogs have twitter accounts, guys.  Betcha they tweetup and hookup all the time now because of it.  They’re laughing at you FourSquare lovers with your fancy, opposing thumbs.

Geolocation is King

Geolocation is a big word for “Where you are, right now.”  This sort of information is typically hidden from those people we know in Social Media, because the concept sounds too much like we are inviting everyone to follow us home at night.   When we do allow an application to turn this on, it can find us based on our computer’s IP (Internet Protocol) Address, or using the GPS emitter on our phone.  And it’s pretty darn accurate.

The use of Geolocation information has been recently made available by Twitter to third-party applications.  So expect applications like Tweetdeck, Seesmic, Twitpic, and others soon to ask you if you want to share this.  If you say yes, when you send out tweets or photos, people will know from a marker on a map exactly where you are.  In other words, Twitter just shot a big hole in FourSquare’s boat…  Didn’t that sound cool? Makes me sound all Social Media Maven-ish.

Fun is Queen

Queen. Ha. I’m running with the whole card concept… Pete’s article refers to FourSquare as “highly addictive gameplay” and I am sure it is, if you live in a city that is cooler than mine.  And go out often. And go to the same places over and over.  How about trying out that Thai place for once, before your girlfriend dumps you…

Yes, they will find you in all languages...

Social Media games are growing rapidly, both in MySpace, FaceBook and Twitter.  We all see the automated status updates, tweets and even Direct Messages from those we follow, slipping in because they think others want to know if they killed someone in Mafia Wars or baked a pizza in Cafe World. Those that fail to turn off the clutter play with us a Social Media equivalent of Whack-a-Mole.  DM. Block. Tweet. Block. Status Update. Block.

There goes the horn. Work day's over. Sorry, guys!

In order to move up in FourSquare, you have to work at it.  You need to frequent your favorite places often, checking in to them using your phone’s app.  Sort of like the alcoholic equivalent of the Looney Tunes Wolf and Sheepdog. You gain points for showing up, for leaving your two cents about the place, and for bringing others with you (who you talked into having the app on their phones, too.)  The more points you receive, the more pretty badges you get, on display for all to see.  And you get to tweet those earned badges out to everyone.  Tweet. Block.  That’s right, during my silence perhaps you can create some paper equivalents of those badges in bright colors to actually wear around your very cool city…

The Benefits of Being Mayor

Play FourSquare loyally, and you move up through the chain established at a particular joint, becoming quite the authority on it.  People might recognize your face and say hello when they show up.  The love abounds. Visit more than anyone else, and you can become “Mayor,” receiving free drinks, entrees and sexual favors. I made up that last one.

Twitter Tweetups, Anywhere

Note the first one. Another dog Tweetup!

Okay, in Twitter you don’t get any badges, earn any points, and don’t get to be Mayor, Councilman, President or Prime Minister of anything.  Unless you already are one of those in real life, or are pretending to be.  But you can schedule and attend those Tweet-ups I mentioned earlier, letting trusted friends know via DM where you’re going, and inviting them.  And with the new Geolocation feature, you can use an iPhone app that tells them exactly how to get there.  And you know what? You can do this anywhere in the World with Internet access and your phone.  Even in my small town, or the one next door we all like to laugh at, because they don’t even have a McDonald’s yet…  That’s right, we are laughing at you again.

Twitter Will Eat FourSquare’s Lunch. Pete and I will go have Sushi

Pete and I takin' off for Bangkok. Tweetup, anyone?

I know I’m not a Social Media Superstar, like Pete Cashmore.  He’s worked hard to achieve that status, and he deserves it.  I love reading the very cool articles his team finds and tweets out.  He writes great pieces himself.  And I am sure he would be a lot of fun on that dance floor in Bangkok. I’m willing to go next time you want to take me…

I think Twitter has incorporated many of the best features of FourSquare, and we tweeters will make it fun on our own.  It will grow on its own, be supported by Twitter’s great team, and 3rd party apps will figure out ways to capitalize on Twitter’s API to support Tweetups.  Businesses will use our exposed Geolocations (Exposed Geolocations. Ha.) to find us nearby and offer up coupons or savings to entice us into their stores or restaurants.  And we’ll do it in the little backwoods corners of the Earth, without those stinkin’ badges.

Just stop following me home already, okay?  It’s really creeping me out…

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AFTERTHOUGHT: I was contacted today by the makers of an application called Flook, which allows its users to create “cards” about a location anywhere they have an Internet connection, simply by taking a photo with their iPhone and providing a commentary.  This can be then tweeted out.  When another person gets near a “Flooked” location, they are alerted, and can see all of the previous “cards” made about it by others.  They can flip through the cards to learn more, or comment back…

Giving Wooxie a Look

In Social Media on November 6, 2009 at 6:40 am
wooxie_main

Main page on Wooxie

There have been a number of websites that have tried their hand at replacing Twitter as the next best thing since, well, Twitter.  Many have fallen short,  providing a user experience that was lacking, and disappearing into the social elephant graveyard.  I recently was invited to try my hand at Wooxie, and was pleasantly surprised by what I saw.

Wooxie, a micro- and macro-blogging site created by Jeff Knize, is what Twitter should’ve been from the start, integrating within it features that the popular micro-blogging site has decided to leave up to 3rd-party apps such as Twitpic, Twitlonger, TinyUrl, Tweetdeck and others.  Remember back in September when Twitter went down for awhile (the Twitterpocalypse,) and everyone began searching for alternatives?  Although Wooxie does not have a great deal of users on board, it gained a significant following during that time.  And to be honest, most returned happily to Twitter when it came back up.  But you never know…

I’m going to tell you my experience with Wooxie, Pros and Cons, and perhaps you’ll consider creating an account and helping to get the party started…

PROS:

macro_blogging

The macro-blogging feature of Wooxie.

155 vice 140 characters – You’ll be pleasantly suprised to find 15 more characters to say what is on your mind in Wooxie.  How many times did you need just a few more keystrokes to make it all work, judiciously slaughtering your comment with the use of u, &, and vowel-less words? Knize says that his team determined that around 155 characters is the “sweet spot” for microbloggers to say what they need.

Macro-blogging – for those times when you need more room to say it, Wooxie incorporates a macro-blogging feature allowing 240 – 1,440 characters for the comment.  You no longer have to break up your tweet into many little ones, or log into 3rd party apps such as Twitlonger to make the story juicier. Just click on Wooxie’s Go Macro button and you’ll be given some extra space! Dude, if you still have problems with it, get a blog!

wooxie_categories

Interest Categories in Wooxie

Interest Categories – Rather than guessing or relying on tweets and profile information to find new, interesting people to follow, you can identify yourself using interest categories.  In your profile settings you can include yourself in up to 15 interest categories (there are 35 offered, including Social Media, Animals and Pets, Music, Family, Food, Video Games, Health and Wellness.)  Others can search by those categories and find you.

Searching for others from any of these categories is easy, sort of like a Lists feature, months before Twitter got it worked out.  Rather than relying on how others have categorized you, Wooxie allows users to determine that for themselves.  And whenever you are looking at someone’s username, Wooxie will tell you whether he or she shares your interests based on having similar categories chosen.

To change which of the 15 allowed categories you belong to, simply visit the Settings tab and check or uncheck the boxes as desired.  If the categories don’t properly define  you, then do so in your profile and through what you say…  See CONS below regarding a search feature, however.

Wooxie’s founders say that the categories feature will help its users avoid spammers, although I can see spammers in all categories waiting to be chosen by those that don’t take the time to look at what they say over time before following them.  Judicious use of the unfollow feature should take care of this.

wooxie_photos

Wooxie Photos and Albums

Built-in Photo Sharing and Albums – Wooxie not only allows you to upload images into your own integrated image library, you can even categorize the images into a simple personal or business album.  No longer will you need to visit Twitpic, YFrog or Twitgoo to house (and share) those pics of your trip to Hawaii or new puppies.  You can put new pics in and share them immediately as part of the interface (looks a little like Brizzly as it shows the images inline,) or you can simply upload them into one of your albums without sharing, and share them when you are ready at a later date.

Twitter and Facebook update integration – You can share your “Woofs” with your other social media accounts by providing Wooxie access to them.  As long as your Twitter login information matches your Wooxie information, you can tweet as you normally do on Twitter through the Wooxie interface, and even update your status on FaceBook simultaneously. See CONS about this feature.

Private or Public “Woofing” – A bit on the shy side? You can protect your comments from the eyes of others, sharing only with those that you allow to follow you, or go fully public with the details of your life, by choosing what you prefer in the Settings tab.

Rewoofing – Similar to the RT feature found only in 3rd party Twitter applications such as TweetDeck, Wooxie integrates a Rewoof (RW) one-click feature. See CONS for limitations on this feature.

wooxie_urls

Wooxie's URL Shortener

Integrated URL-Shortener – No bit.ly, ow.ly, or tinyurl accounts or systems in order to obtain a shorter link for those incredibly long blog post URLs.  Wooxie has a built-in URL shortener.  Although the addition of http://url.wooxie.com in front of each shortened URL is a full 8 characters longer than the bit.ly shortening system, with the additional 15 characters you get in Wooxie, it’s really not a loss… See CONS

Profiles and Backgrounds – As to be expected in social media accounts, you have the ability to customize with your own personal avatar, chosen color schemes, and canned or customized background images (700 kb max with jpg or gif support.)

Featuring Fans or Followers – you can feature either one of your “fans” who follow you, or one of the users you are following.  These will show up on your main page, telling everyone who visits who you think are especially great or interesting.  It’s easy to add them and take them back off later. See CONS about this one.

Replies, Favorites and Private Messages – Wooxie has been careful in including all of the best features of Twitter, including the ability to see who has mentioned you, the ability to save comments as favorites to review later, and the ever-necessary private messaging feature, so you can talk without others reading.

wooxie_adsense

The Google AdSense Interface

Google Adsense – Create an AdSense account, and you can make money as others visit your page and click on the advertisements there.  See CONS.

CONS:

Where are all of the people? This is a killer, and has to be addressed through marketing. Get the users there to talk with each other, and it will grow…

Search Feature? – This interface is in dire need of a search box allowing one to search for users by what they’ve said or what is written in their profile.  The category, username or name choices are severely limited.  I understand the desire to find someone with similar interests, but I want to define the keywords that make for that interest.

No Commenting in the RW (Rewoof) Feature – The Wooxie RW feature falls short in that unlike the very popular Tweetdeck, it does not allow for you to add some extra commentary prior to submitting the rewoof.  To add your own commentary to the RW, you are left copying and pasting.  In other words, it’s like what Twitter is moving to…..

Ads? Really? – The integration of Google’s Adsense is interesting and I am sure desirable to some, but for the rest of us, it might get a bit annoying, especially if the ads make their way into the longer comments and/or pictures sent out, so I hope that it stays on the profile page only, or it will probably backfire… Honestly, I don’t think anyone is going to click on ads on someone’s profile page, but for big players like Mashable, Google Ads just might bring in a small but tidy income.

No “Block” Feature – This is a biggie for some. You can unfollow users in Wooxie and no longer see what they have to say, but they can still contact you by addressing you directly. How do you leave that one out, guys?  It’s a must-have, to prevent bullying in the least…

wooxie_featured

Wooxie Featured Section

Twitter and FaceBook Integration One-Way – You can update your social media accounts, but replies won’t get sent back to Wooxie. But we are used to this, as Twitter does not grab back replies in FaceBook to sent updates.

Featuring Fans or Followers Limited – Although you can highlight these individuals, it would be nice to state why they are being highlighted. Perhaps a statement could show up when you hover your cursor over their picture?

URL Shortening not Tracked – Those of us who want to see how successful our link retweeting action is, would seriously like to see a tracker for the shortened Wooxie URLs.

After reading all of this, why not try out Wooxie for yourself? Go ahead, create an account using the same login information as Twitter, and give it a whirl. Lend your voice for awhile and let’s see if we can kick this party into gear.  The interface needs some additional work, so consider it to be in Beta form. If you decide Twitter is where you need to stay, at least you have a placeholder in Wooxie if things take off for them, too.  As for me, I was able to obtain the username Steve.  Very cool, if this thing takes off, I get to be the Steve…. Ha.

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