The Writing on the Wall

What if there was a wall in every store, restaurant and café where previous visitors could write helpful advice regarding their previous visits?

Take, for example, Nuevo Laredo, a Mexican restaurant in Atlanta that I happen to know is the shizzle. On this pretend wall, the following people will have left these comments:

On March 14, 2010, David T said, “Taco De Carne Asada…mmmmmm.”

On February 18, 2010, Rob M. said, “The ‘ritas and queso is excelenté. Great for drinks and dinner after work.”

On February 13, 2010, Sean P. said, “Be prepared for a wait no matter when you come on the weekends. Got here at 5:15 on a Saturday night and still waited for 30 minutes.”

January 24, 2010, Jonathan S said, “Brisket Tacos are amazing!!”

January 10, 2010, Christien L. said, “Lobster Tacos = Da Bomb!”

And way back in November, the ever resourceful Angela M. said, “For the Friday wait – bring tailgate chairs, and take your margaritas outside while you’re waiting for your table.”

Imagine how completely helpful all of this is. We now know that there will likely be a wait, even if we go early, so we can set the expectations of those in our party. We also know that we will be the envy of all of the people milling around the parking lot if we bring our tailgate chairs. Further, we already know what we want to order when we get there…definitely a rita, and we’re currently on the fence between the Brisket Tacos and the Lobster Tacos.

Guess what, folks? There is already a service that provides this. It’s called Foursquare. And you need to just go ahead and sign up. I know, I know. You don’t want to. You still don’t really “get” Twitter…and are hesitant to sign up for a user name on yet another social site that you don’t use.

But Foursquare is different. Think about it like interactive yellow pages. But it doesn’t only give you the telephone number…it tells you what’s good, what’s great, etc. So basically it is like a yellow pages, only used for more than just boosting a kid on a seat at Thanksgiving.

Now, if you have a business, you should definitely consider embracing Foursquare. After all, it will drive people to your doorsteps. Foursquare allows business to list specials to attract and/or reward visits. PLUS, your visitors will compete to become the Mayor of your establishment. (The Mayor is simply the person who goes to your joint most often.)

The other thing that’s pretty cool is the ability to run a special on Foursquare that is offered to people who are nearby. Imagine that you own a bar, restaurant or store and that you can advertise your specials, etc., to people who are already out and walking around in your general area. That’s pretty powerful stuff.

Now, there is a downside to Foursquare that can be really be boiled down to one word: Geolocation. There could be some serious repercussions to announcing on the internet where, exactly, you happen to be standing at this moment. Foursquare is a stalkers nirvana and it’s probably just a matter of time before something bad happens to someone who used it.

But just because a few bad eggs use it for something nefarious doesn’t diminish the possibilities for both the consumer and the business owner. Individual account holders will need to be mindful of their security settings and use some good old fashioned common sense when using Foursquare or anything similar…and then hold onto their hats because the writing is on the wall – this is the wave of the future.

Posted on: April 19, 2010, by : bex