July 26th, 2009

Foursquare's First Town Holler, "Foursquares", and the Future of Mobile Social Media

I thought “Town Holler” was organized by Foursquare.  Nope.

The event, the first of its kind as far as I know, was organized by a user and fan of Foursquare and managed to draw 50+ people to come out at 4pm on a Saturday in the middle of summer.

It started at One and One in the East Village, and everyone drank beer and wore name tags with his/her name and the name of the place where he/she was the “mayor”. The event went on into the evening with people coming in and out and the crowd moving to different venues around the East village.

I met some new people – not necessarily “strangers” but definitely new faces. They were friends of friends, in a similar field, had similar interests, etc. Not friends, not strangers. Fr-rangers. Or maybe just other “foursquares”.

It reminded me of Paul Graham’s quote that I love: “Better to make a few users love you than a lot ambivalent.” Foursquare is a great example of that quote in action. People care enough about the product to self-organize and show up.

Through events like Town Holler, Foursquare is helping to solve an issue that social networks, dating websites, and location-centered local sites have been trying to solve for a while: meeting new people and finding new places. And Foursquare, so far, does it best. Why?  Because it’s built for mobile devices. After all, when’s the best time to meet new people and find new places:

a. while at home surfing the internet
b. when you’re already out and about

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

And then – oh yeah – there are the HUGE potential benefits for local businesses.  The biggest challenge for a lot of local businesses is foot traffic. They want bodies in their establishment spending cash money. Foursquare drove a hoard of people to a group of local bars during the dreary afternoon lull – and the establishments were more than happy to provide drink/food specials as a result. Sounds like win/win to me.

There are also all the bomb “discovery” and gaming features as well. Yesterday’s post in Mashable highlights some of the gaming features, and Charlie O’Donnell does a great job explaining the discovery angle in a post called “Why Yelp (…and Every Single Retail Establishment) Should Support Foursquare.”

If anything, yesterday’s event was Charlie’s post brought to life. I knew it before, but saw it so clearly yesterday: Foursquare  will soon be the default engine for connecting people to local businesses and to new and exciting things around them.

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  • http://www.marketing.fm EricFriedman

    Love the term Frangers!

  • http://thedreaminaction.com/ Ryan Graves

    Hey Amanda-
    do you know who organized the town hollar? I'd like to do one in Chicago…