Collective local exploration

Are you familiar with Foursquare? If you’re following the social media explosion you should be.  A sort of local Twitter, Foursquare is a locally-based social network that allows people in the same city to connect and share experiences both online, and through mobile devices.

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Utilizing a real-time stream of tweets (for lack of a better word), users roam the city, racking up points for checking in from new locations, offering tips to other users and exploring different parts of the city. These points, in turn, change your ranking on the site’s leaderboard for that city. And to give noobs a chance, all stats reset at midnight on Sunday night. Thus, users are playing a weekly game against not just their social circle, but also against every user in the city.

Additionally, the app allows you to save a “to-do” list, earn badges, become the “mayor” of a favorite haunt and share your location, when desired. While its not available everywhere (currently 17 US  and 3 international cities), it’s growing popularity no doubt capitalizes on the Twitter generation’s love of sharing their experiences with as broad an audience as possible.

Even cooler, in certain cities, Foursquare has partnered up with 8coupons to promote specials at local eateries, bars, etc. According to a Mashable article, Foursquare users within a three-block radius are sent automatic notifications of deals. This allows users to discover new places, finding the best that their city has to offer, while allowing merchants a new channel to market their products and services.

By cross utilizing social networking with location-based marketing, the partnership between Foursquare and 8coupons offer a glimpse of the seemingly limitless future of new media and social marketing.

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