Why Foursquare Didn’t Work for Me

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Back in November, I wrote about how I tried Foursquare. And despite my initial reservations, I thought it was okay . . . for about a month.

I stopped using it because it took up too much of my time. I don’t have a smartphone, so each time I wanted to check into a place I’d have to load the internet on my phone, visit the mobile site, find the place I’m looking for, and check in. Repeat for each stop and you can see how it would be time consuming. It is also possible to text your location to Foursqure for check-ins, but I found this method inaccurate.

To be honest, I never lost the uneasy feeling about random people knowing my exact location at all times. None of my friends ever tried it, so it wasn’t very fun (several use Facebook Places though, go figure).

I don’t think that Foursquare is a bad social networking site, it just wasn’t right for me at this point in time. I’m interested to see how it’s different from the business perspective . . . maybe I’ll post something on that in the future.

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Have you tried Foursquare? Let me know what you thought in the comments below!

Social Media and Black Friday Deals

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I sat down to do a book-related post, but I couldn’t think of any good Thanksgiving ones to review. However, I do recommend A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn if you are looking for a U.S.-themed book to read.

Instead of writing about books, I decided to do a social media post about how retailers are using social media to promote “Black Friday” deals. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and the official “start” of the Christmas shopping season for many. Retailers will often open extremely early in the morning (I’ve seen ads for places opening as early as 2 or 3 a.m.) and offer bargains. Although it is often called the busiest retail shopping day of the year, that is not always the case. In terms of sale volume, the Saturday before Christmas is traditionally busier.

Many retailers will offer Black Friday deals to those who “like” or “follow” them on Facebook, Twitter, or Foursquare.

To find deals, follow @blackfriday on Twitter and check out the #blackfriday hashtag. News and updates can be found at black-friday.net.

Here are a few of the deals that I found:

Target—There’s a $25 Target Gift Card Giveaway open. Click on their Facebook or Twitter link to see the contest rules. Check out Target’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Sports Authority—Sports Authority has a contest with 20 $500 gift cards available. To enter, check in via Foursquare to Sports Authority in-store during certain hours on Black Friday and tweet your check-in.

Sears—Sears promises to “unlock great deals” for those who “like” them on Facebook. Check out Sears’ Facebook page here.

Coca-Cola—If you are in one of 10 Simon Malls across the country, download the free SCVNGR app for your iPhone or Android. You can try to accumulate enough points to get rewards such as an American Express gift card and/or Coca-Cola merchandise.

Like I said, these are just a few deals to be found, and some of the ones that incorporated social media. Check your local newspaper or black-friday.net for more!

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Are you shopping on Black Friday? Do you know any retailers who are incorporating social media into their promotions? Let me know in the comments below!

Twitter Tuesday: Twitter Clients and Extensions

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If you don’t like the layout of the Twitter website, fear not. You can do pretty much everything on Twitter via applications and other clients.

DESKTOP CLIENTS

Desktop clients are a convenient and popular way to keep up on Twitter. Most of them even have a version for your smartphone.

My favorite desktop client—well, honestly the only one I’ve used—is TweetDeck. This is one of the most popular clients for a good reason—you can do almost anything Twitter-related on it. Plus it’s free. I was originally drawn to this program because of the simple interface and the groups feature. The groups feature allows you to sort the people you follow into groups. Each group gets its own column; this makes it easy to keep track of everthing. You can also manage Foursquare, Facebook, Myspace, Google Buzz, and LinkedIn from TweetDeck.

This is what TweetDeck looks like on my computer:

Tweetdeck Screenshot

Hootsuite is another popular client (although it’s one that I haven’t tried . . . yet). There are two versions of Hootsuite—a free one and a paid one. For the casual user, the free version should be fine. The pro-version ($5.99 USD/ month) would be great for a company or if you want to manage more than five social media accounts. The paid version lets you use Google Analytics as well.

Other clients include twhirl, Twitterific ($14.95), and Seesmic.

For me, TweetDeck worked so well that I didn’t feel the need to try any other clients. Of course, if I find one that better suits my needs or if I get curious, I will try it.

WEB BROWSER:

Another way to check your Twitter account without accessing the website is via a web browser extension.

Firefox

My favorite extension is Echofon. It’s a tiny little icon that sits on the corner of your browser and displays new messages. I always have turn it off when I need to concentrate on something, but it’s nice if you want to read your messages as they appear.

In the past, I’ve used Yoono, which put my email, Facebook, Twitter, and IM accounts in a sidebar on the left hand side of my screen. This worked for a while, but ultimately annoyed me too much (you can hide the sidebar, but I’ve found that other extensions just work better).

TwitterBar lets you type a status update from the address bar on your browser. It’s useful, especially if you share links often, but I uninstalled it because it didn’t do enough for me.

I’ve also tried FriendBar, which streams updates from your Facebook and Twitter accounts. The version I tried was too bulky for me.

There are many more add-ons available here if none of these suit your needs. To be honest, you sometimes have to just play around to find something you like.

Other Web Browsers:

I’ve never actually tried any add-ons for different browsers, but they do exist for Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Opera.

In any browser, I highly suggest that you try this bookmarklet. Just drag and drop it in the correct toolbar. I use it all the time! It makes it very easy to share links.

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What Twitter apps, clients, or add-ons do you like? Let me know in the comments below. Also feel free to Tweet me your Twitter questions @amye_, email them to me at amy@amyerickson.net or ask them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them in future posts.

Facebook Friday: Ask Your Questions

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I’ve opted not to tell you the long, boring story about why I don’t have a regular Facebook Friday post this week. The gist of it is that real life got in the way and I didn’t have a prewritten post. If you want details, feel free to check out my Tumblr.

This week, I want to invite you to send me your requests for Facebook Friday posts. There are several ways you can do this. You can leave them in a comment below, tweet them to @amye_, or send them to amy@amyerickson.net.


Feel free to send me as many requests as you’d like and to invite your friends to do the same. I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to post everything, but I’ll give it my best shot.

P.S.
If you have any Twitter or other social media questions, feel free to ask them. The same goes for if you have any grammar questions or book questions/ requests.

 

 

I Tried Foursquare

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Okay, so who’s been curious about Foursquare? I initially thought it was creepy (and, to an extent I still do). I don’t want people to know where I am at all times! But like most social media trends, I got curious and decided to give it a go.

In case you don’t know, Foursquare is a location-based social media network. You “check in” at stores, restaurants, etc . . . and earn points and badges. You can also share tips with your friends or the community as a whole.

So what do I think about it?

  • I have a Motorola Karma phone, and while it is a good phone and has 3G internet, it is in no way a smartphone. It takes forever a few minutes to access the website and check in. It is possible to check in via text message, but when I tried to do that, it checked me into the wrong place entirely.
  • When I go somewhere, I want to enjoy it. I don’t want to worry about checking in. Maybe this would change if I had the right phone.
  • I often find myself checking into places after I leave them, such as on the way home. This kind of defeats the purpose.
  • None of my friends use Foursquare. This also defeats the purpose. Most of my friends don’t use Twitter either, but at least I can still interact with people.
  • I honestly don’t think it’s a good idea to tell people where you are all of the time.

Foursquare does have some things going for it though.

  • It’s a good way to share tips with other users about a restaurant or a place.
  • It’s good for businesses to see who is checking in, and to attract customers by offering a prize or a discount to the “mayor” (the person who has the most check-ins).

I’m not giving up on it yet, so we’ll see how it goes.

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What do you think about Foursquare? Let me know in the comments below!

19 Social Media Links

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Hello everyone! I have some interesting social media and technology links that I came across last week. Let me know which one was your favorite!

Social Media Links:

  1. Social Media Votes on Election Day 2010. I also wrote a blog post on the same topic.
  2. What will location apps of the future do?
  3. Here are 5 big brands that are doing social media correctly.
  4. A non-profit is trying to raise homelessness awareness on Foursquare.

Facebook:

  1. Facebook says apps shared user data, promises fix
  2. Google to Facebook: Get out of my sandbox. Basically, you can’t import your Google contacts information into Facebook anymore.
  3. The Facebook Skeletons Come Out.
  4. You can “like” the British queen on Facebook. Click here for the page.
  5. Don’t drink and Facebook. It’s not wise! You can take the Facebook sobriety test here.
  6. Will Facebook deals cost you your privacy?

Twitter:

  1. Find out Why Twitter’s CEO Demoted Himself.
  2. Will Twitter let businesses claim locations?

Other Links:

  1. Does this surprise anyone? Many Teens Text All Night Long
  2. Online learning is growing on college campuses. What do you think about this?
  3. Google sponsors free in-flight WiFi for the holidays. Of course, this is the year I’m not going anywhere.
  4. This looks hilarious: a new blog is taking on autocorrect. Kind of like a “texts from last night” site for autocorrect.

Go Vote! & Election Social Media Resources

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Tomorrow (November 2nd, 2010) is Election Day for those of us in the United States. People not in the United States will probably find this post boring.

This is not a post telling you how to vote. But I do want to encourage you to go out there and vote, no matter who or what you are voting for. As my parents always said, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain when things don’t go your way. So if you can vote, go out there and do it.

To make this post relevant to this blog, I’ve complied some social media resources related to this election.

FACEBOOK

First of all, there’s a Facebook app that will help you find your polling place. Facebook also has an Election Tracker; All Facebook, an unofficial application that gives statistics; and My Ballot, an application that lets you share your vote with your friends. Facebook will also have an “I Voted” button tomorrow and will remind all U.S. users 18 and older to vote in their newsfeed.

Also, California Democrats use Facebook to Find Non-Voters. This is kind of creepy, yet interesting.

FOURSQUARE

Foursquare added an “I Voted” badge for the election, so make sure you check in when you vote!

TWITTER
The Twitter blog gives you some accounts to follow for election news. Add the hashtag #votereport when you tweet about your voting experience (#NYCvotes for people in New York). Be sure to use the hashtag #ivoted after you vote!

OTHER:
Enter your address in at this polling locator, and it will tell you where to vote. Google Maps will also do this.

I also want you to encourage you to encourage others to vote. You can do this via email, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, your blog, a YouTube video . . . anything you can think of. The important thing is that you go out there and do it.