Archives for posts with tag: Foursquare


It was Second Life at one point. Foursquare. The newest object is Quora. 2011 will deliver more bright, shiny objects. And many of us will lament the marketers attraction to them.

Marketers love bright, shiny objects because it’s easy. It’s hard to come up with a landing page that stands out. It’s hard to develop a Facebook strategy that is more signal than noise. It’s hard to develop an innovative SEM strategy. You’re fighting for the attention with thousands and thousands of other brands and people trying to do the same. And it’s harder to succeed with proven marketing tactics.

Bright, shiny objects are much more forgiving. It’s easier to stand out, it’s easier to get recognition in the marketing echo chamber and nobody faults you when you fail. (Just ask all the agencies that developed Second Life islands.)

Nothing against trying new things, exploring new tactics. But it should be based on solid insights and ROI. Not because it was easy.

That’s the real


One of the keys to being successful in the marketplace is to be findable. For many companies that translates into trying to be everywhere. It speaks to the old broadcasting mentality of filling every empty minute, space and sound wave with messages. And so companies have presences on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn, Foursquare and and and. Mostly coupled with a weak infrastructure to support all these platforms, presences and initiatives.

These unfocused efforts often lead to deserted fad islands and empty bandwagons.

It’s more valuable to each stakeholder to identify first where your audience is and will be in the future. Join them in the best way you can. Take a long, hard look at your real capacity to add value to a platform. If all you be is mediocre, stay away. Build your infrastructure first and then join your audience. Not the other way around.

Your marketing shouldn’t be run by Google and SEO lords whispering in your ear to build more and more places and links. Your marketing should be run by the desire to provide something special and valuable.


No, Twitter didn’t announce their new ad platform. Yes, Foursquare and Gowalla had a breakout conference with more people checking in everywhere, annoying their friends and loved ones left behind. No, there was no new Twitter. And, yes, the future for digital technologies and Social Media is still very bright. But it’s time to shake up conferences like SXSW.

While some talks were insightful (Clay Shirky and Jaron Lanier come to mind), most panels didn’t rise above the mediocrity of typical Interactive conferences: Many unprepared panelists, content didn’t match advertised topics and, most importantly, too much talk about “joining the conversation”, “transparency”, “authenticity” and other tired buzzwords.

I went to SXSW and all I got was a Social Media 101 for beginners?

While the networking opportunities continue to be tremendous, all of us need to up the content game. We need to talk more about ROI, adoption of new technologies and Knowledge Management. We need to talk frankly about failures and successes and share them through case studies. Isn’t it ironic that everybody praises failures but nobody wants to share their failures so all of us can learn from them? And, most importantly, we need  to let people outside of the industry in. We need more input and insights from sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists, small businesses, Fortune 10 corporations and (insert your idea here).

In short, we need to leave the technology and Social Media echo chamber and let some fresh air in. The air at SXSW 200 felt stale and sometimes almost pungent with Social Media celebrity self-importance fueled by breathless fanboys and the always present booze cloud above us all. This post is not directed at the organizers of SXSW 2010. They did a fantastic job by delivering a flawless conference. A small point of criticism: Maybe less crowdsourcing panels (fueling the echo chamber), more crowdsourcing topics, themes and objectives of participants.

No, this is a wake-up call to all of us: Let’s open the echo chamber and let’s learn from and with others. The sessions from were a good start: Getting people from all walks of life together to end hunger in America. That was a good start. But while we thought, discussed and collaborated about solving a serious problem, the majority of visitors were busy checking in at various parties. While they thought they were busy checking in, they were busy checking out.