Foursquare. Anything But Square.

I’ve been following Foursquare for a long time now (maybe since July), and I hadn’t made up my mind about it until very recently.  Many people having been quietly calling the mobile social networking application the next Twitter, and now I can honestly say that I’m starting to believe.  But quickly, let me give a brief overview of what Foursquare is.

Basically it’s a status update that incorporates your location, via your mobile GPS.  Instead of Tweeting like you’d do on Twitter, you Check In.  It’s a smarter Twitter really, since you can send a status update that also lets your friends know where you are and what you’re doing.  You can also find your friends, search venues, earn badges and add your friends.  The earn badges feature may be its biggest addictive quality.  One simply checks in from various locations, and those that check in the most become “Mayors.”  This sort of idea gives it an almost game-like appeal.

Foursquare originated as an iphone app, but has since become its own entity that can be accessed from virtually any smart phone.  With the trend of things becoming simpler and faster, Foursquare definitely fits the mold.  But this week’s announcement of an API, may have sealed the companies’ future.  The program feature allows any third-party developer to build and create anything they like on top of the Foursquare structure (just as iphone did with their applications).  What this might do is create some separation from any other similar GPS-based ideas looking to infiltrate.  But aside from just going after the programmers and developers, Foursquare is also going after the restaurants and retailers.  “Foursquare for Business” is an application that gives retailers the ability to offer discounts from those just “checking in.”   An example is Tasti D-Lite, offering a discount if you check in to two of its locations.  Anyone can easily see how this can become an incredibly useful marketing tool for businesses as the service grows increasingly popular (which I believe it will).

Foursquare also recently added 50 new cities globally to it’s already around 50 city database.

I followed Twitter from its early stages and its growth started slowly (I’ll admit I didn’t see the excitement at first), but once it caught on we all know what happened next.  I believe that Foursquare has positioned itself well enough to become the next major player in the social networking world and think that their growth will be exponentially faster.  We all know that status updates are here and we also know that the smart phone and mobile internet is here.  It’s really a marriage of these two technologies coming together at the right time.  The only thing I could see stopping this inevitable next step is really Twitter itself.  But Twitter is also wrapped up with expanding their own company and developing their advertising model that it might not be feasible for them to jump in.  Just the same, it also could be very feasible for them to step in.  This will be something very interesting to keep an eye on and I intend to do that here.

Only time will tell, but if you want a jump-start on “the next big thing,” go check Foursquare out for yourself.

Also check out Mashable’s CEO Pete Cashmore discuss the company here.

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~ by danjsilver on November 20, 2009.

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