foursquare and Gowalla

For the last few weeks I’ve been playing around with a couple of location-based services, foursquare and Gowalla. The basic premise behind these websites is that they both have apps that can be installed on web-friendly mobiles like the iPhone and Android-based handsets. As you travel about visiting different locations, you “check in” to each venue, which posts your location into your Twitter and/or Facebook streams, letting people know where you are and what you’re up to. If your friends have checked in nearby, it will let you know, encouraging you to meet up with people, and discover new places by rewarding you with points and badges for doing different things. Whilst it’s all good fun collecting these, I’ve been having a think about how to better make use of them for The Wineyard.

Initially, I was “checking in” to pretty much everywhere I went and generally getting a bit carried away with it all. The main result was a lot of annoying messages clogging up our feeds. When I was checking in to places like supplier tastings, it was pretty popular, but more day-to-day local locations weren’t exactly interesting. So I had a think (in the shower of course, where all the best things are thought of!) and decided to change my approach. I’ll still be using these services to check-in at different places, but in a more restrained and hopefully useful way for the rest of you.

The main places I’ll be checking-in will be wherever I’m working each day (be that from home, at the shop, or at our head office) so that anyone who fancies a face-to-face chat can find me easily (I’m not using my actual home address, simply a nearby generic location). I’ll also be checking-in at any tastings or other exciting events that we’re at, so that people know where they’re happening, and can see what we’re up to. I may also check-in if I’m in town, or at a restaurant, so anyone who’s interested can find me, or ask me about somewhere they’ve not visited and are curious about. If you’re ever nearby, I love to meet new people who follow my antics on Twitter and the blog, so do please come and say hello, and introduce yourself! I’m very friendly, and whenever possible love an excuse to grab a cup of coffee or a bite to eat, and will happily talk about almost anything with you. And yes, I’m single so ladies form an orderly queue please! We don’t want anyone getting hurt now. 😉

Once we have our website up and running (project start meeting coming up soon – most exciting stuff which will no doubt be tweeted about with much passion!), I’m thinking about integrating my foursquare/Gowalla activities in some way too, and also potentially rewarding our most regular visitors on each service in some way (if you start checking in now, you’ve a good chance of entrenching yourself at the top of the list). If you have any thoughts on either platform, or on what I’m doing with them, or even just want a friendly chat, do please get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.

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