Building on their recent success at SXSW (reputedly gaining almost 100,000 users over the course of the event), Foursquare have released a few more surprises for us. First up is “Celebrity Mode“, introducing the concept of non-reciprocal friendship, allowing users to “follow” stars without necessarily being followed back. This move is vital if Foursquare is to capitalize on celebrity advocates, as Twitter did in its early years. Expect to see brands jumping on the bandwagon in the near future: celebrity endorsement via check-in could be the perfect solution for venues that want to be seen as elite destinations (like the W hotels, for example).
Second, Foursquare has secured a tie in with Bing that will bring contextual “tips” to a Bing map sidebar. This is a clear challenge to Google’s local listing data, and also encroaches on Yelp territory. Increasingly, people will be able to see fresh user-submitted data alongside brand-controlled content when deciding where to go – which can only be a good thing for consumers.
Microsoft is developing a Twitter clone – can’t help but think they’re a little late to the party. OfficeTalk is aimed at enterprises seeking internal micro-blogging services to facilitate better communication between employees. Yammer has already been doing that for nearly two years.
Social Media Bashing
Umair Haque’s diatribe in the Harvard Business Review has been getting a lot of attention – The Social Media Bubble. He argues that social media fosters only “thin relationships” that are a pale imitation of real-world communities. For a nice, well considered riposte, see What Consumes Me.
I’m sure we’ve all seen this already, but yes, Nestle has made a bit of an error on Facebook, to put it mildly. Their page has been the victim (or deserving recipient) of digital guerilla warfare, orchestrated by Greenpeace. All this really illustrates is the importance of being prepared: have a strategy in place, and be ready to respond when the crisis hits.