On a recent airline flight, after completing a couple hours of work, I decided to surf the interwebs a bit, courtesy of gogo Inflight Wi-Fi. Upon checking my Twitter stream I quickly realized there was a Foursquare Mile High badge that could be earned. Here’s a little story of how I learned about the badge, what happened next, and some thoughts I now have about the entire experience.
As I started my work at 30,000 feet, I mentioned via Twitter that I was working from an airline seat. I then closed Hootsuite (my Twitter client of choice) and went to work on emails and such. Upon re-opening Hootsuite I was surprised to see my @ messages column just full of people asking me to them to help them earn the aforementioned Foursquare Mile High badge.
I had to know. I did a bit of searching on the internet and figured out what was necessary to earn the badge. I’m not the world’s biggest Foursquare fan but I do find it fun sometimes and want to continue learning about Geolocation services. There are many marketing opportunities with Geolocation that I want to stay on top of. It’s also educational to watch Foursquare grow as a company, an application and a phenomenon. I found the few minutes of playtime involved in this process to be generally useful. Plus, I did earn the badge! (sarcasm)
Who’s so obsessed to earn the badge they will @ message total strangers and offer to provide their user name and password? Yes, you read that correctly I was offered user names and passwords by several people desperate to earn the Mile High badge. It continues to fascinate me that multiple people had set-up listening systems to determine who was earning the badge and then ask for help in earning it. Really? That badge matters why? I guess what I witnessed is the same obsession some folks have with on-line games like Farmville or Mafia Wars. I truly don’t understand it. (OK, as a guy with an addictive personality I actually do.)
Foursquare is useful. Please don’t take the previous paragraph to infer that I don’t think Foursquare is useful. The exact opposite is the case. I’ve watched Foursquare transform a local Milwaukee burger joint into an international phenomenon and attended several events there to “earn badges.” As a marketing tool, to draw in customers Foursquare can be incredibly useful. As a game to earn badges…in my humble opinion – not so much. (disclaimer: I’ve earned plenty of badges playing around with Foursquare and learning it’s capabilities.)
The Payoff: As a thank you for reading this far I’m providing the link to my friend Joe Sorge’s free #foursquareworks eBook. If you’re in any type of retail business, this is the definitive Fourquoare how-to, written by a guy who has walked the walk and is now qualified to talk the talk.
So, what’s your take on Fourquare badge earning?