how soon is now?

foursquare logostrange and wonderful things happened this past friday night. I indulged in a rare upscale treat. I qualified for a meaningless award. and I saw evidence that the future of marketing as I envision it is coming to pass.


I was signed up to attend an event with gary vaynerchuk in boston. I got into town early and visited a number of establishments (you’ll see why this matters in a sec).  I enjoyed a libation with gradon tripp and alicia staley before we headed over.  my enjoyment of the beverage and the company was not surprising – the venue was. I don’t recall if it was gradon or @stales who suggested the four seasons, but soon there we were, backpacks and hoodies and all. my sentiments are best captured in my foursquare check-in:

foursquare four seasons, boston

let me note that this was not a smear on the beer – I had in fact ordered non-alcoholic (ironic nomenclature there) beer. a 2009 clausthaler: highly recommended. but I digress.

also strange

I refer above to my foursquare check-in. for those of you not familiar with it, is a silly site whose users log in from all the places they visit.  but how silly is it really? look closer, my pretties…

venue page on foursquare.comlarger image click here

log ins are assigned a certain number of points, which are useless except for bragging rights with other users. as shown in the image above, you get to be mayor of a venue on foursquare when you are the most frequent visitor. also useless, but it does tend to make one check in more. strange things #2: I was awarded the ‘oversharer’ badge on friday for ten checkins in 24 hours, a new personal best. among the foursquare-ati, ten is what they get in by lunchtime. popular spots might change mayors a few times a day, encouraging repeat visits. so maybe not so silly. but that’s just the start.

users are encouraged to enter tips about the places they check in – a favorite entree or section of the bar, for example. this evening I saw a tweet from jeremiah owyang saying that after checking in on foursquare, he received an offer for a discount nearby. he observes that “soon it will add social data: ‘your friends like this place.’”


well, guess what – soon is now. after checking in at the four seasons, flashed up a confirmation, along with (trumpets please) a message which unfortunately I had no way to capture on my not-so-smartphone. It said (as near as I can recall)

since you’re so close, you should stop by pj chang’s – some of your friends are there now. [name of friend] recommends the chocolate cake [friend's comment followed praising the dessert and restaurant].

oh. my. god. it’s the rapture.

I freaked. I showed it to my friends. I guess they had received similar messages, because their reaction was pretty blasé. however, seeing jeremiah’s tweet made me realize that hey, maybe foursquare is just starting to leverage the power of real time, geo-tagged data.

oh. my. god.

just so freaking cool.

stay tuned.

the qualified yes is Stephen Fry proof thanks to caching by WP Super Cache