Thursday, October 21, 2010

You’re Fred! How I met Fred White at Jamaica Pond by using Foursquare

The Boston Globe has a story by Beth Teitell on Foursquare WITHOUT a link to Foursquare, Virtual tracking fosters real-life connections.

Teitell called me for help in identifying local Foursquare users, so I put a call out to twitter.

You Click an iPhone, Right?
Teitell also called me to make sure of the correct terminology for using Foursquare was the word 'click'.

You do click buttons on your iPhone with your finger, right?

Foursquare Explained, Sort of.
Foursquare is explained this way:
For those unsure how this whole geolocation thing works, or even unaware that its social applications exist, here’s a quickie lesson, using Foursquare as an example: A user checks in, via a smartphone click, at a favorite location — Starbucks, say, or an Indian restaurant. That sends a message to two groups: the user’s friends, wherever they are, and other users who have clicked on the location in the app and scroll through the “Who’s here’’ list (a level of sharing users can opt out of). The user’s picture, first name, and last-name initial appear on the list.
That's kinda right, although it misses the point that all the data is stored in a database, and that when you check into a place, messages aren't sent out to all your friends, only those that have chosen to receive push notifications.

My Agenda
Teitell introduces the section I'm in with this paragraph:
As businesses try to woo customers, singles check each other out, and social network-types try to make connections, there’s one group of people with no agenda other than making friends.
I don't recall the reporter asking me about my Foursquare agenda.

Obviously it's not mainly about making new friends, I use Foursquare to keep track of people that I already know. That agenda doesn't fit the premise of the article though.

We do get a glimpse at my meeting with Fred at Jamaica Pond.

Foursquare in Boston Globe 10/21/10
Fred at Jamaica Pond and me on the iPhone
Consider the meeting between Fred White, 48, management consultant, and Steve Garfield, author of “Get Seen: Online Video Secrets to Building Your Business.’’ White had been following Garfield on Twitter, and one day he was at Jamaica Pond when a guy called out: “You’re Fred White.’’ To which White answered: “You’re Steve Garfield.’’ They had recognized each other from their Foursquare pictures.

“It was kind of weird,’’ White said. “We’re practically neighbors, but here we have to meet through this forum of millions of people.’’
One more thing, I didn't say "“You’re Fred White" since Foursquare only supplies first name, last initial.

It was more like, “Fred?"

Please don't follow me on Foursquare.

You can follow me on twitter though.

My friend, Carissa O'Brien, also featured in the article, shares her thoughts too, Connections Eclipse the Virtual World.
I have friends–male and female–with very diverging opinions on how to connect on location-based apps. Personally, when it comes to LBS platforms, I choose only to friend folks with whom I’ve had some form of previous connection. I’ve either met them personally or have had online interaction with them on Twitter or elsewhere. I don’t see a need to connect further with someone on a service that shares my location until we’ve had at least that much experience with each other first. And I’m thoughtful about how and when I share my location. If there’s any question of security or risk, I just don’t check in. The social experience isn’t worth putting myself or others at personal risk.
Note that she too doesn't mainly use Foursquare to meet new people, but to share her location with people that she already knows.

I left this comment on her blog:
I find it interesting that we both wrote blog posts that actually are the opposite of the article’s premise. We both use Foursquare, not to meet new people, although that has happened, but to let people in our existing network know where we are...

Our experience shows how broken news reporting is. Anyone who has ever been quoted in a news article knows how error prone it is.

One more thing, when we were both in Las Vegas this weekend, I checked into the MORE buffet at the Luxor, and Foursquare showed me that you were there with 50 other people, so I joined you for an amazing breakfast.

That place is so huge that I might not have known you were there without Foursquare.

That is why it’s valuable.
Here's a link to my book, Get Seen, if you're interested in learning about putting video online:

UPDATE 10/22/10:

Boston Globe Deleted My Comment to An Article I Was In

The Boston Globe deleted my comment that I made to this article.

My comment was a link to this post:
My comments:

The Boston Globe deleted my comment, which included a link away from, on the article that I'm in?


I am now going to go back and try to comment again without a link.


  1. Hi Steve,

    Thanks so much for including me in your post. I too was a bit surprised the article didn't focus more on the type of connections I tried to articulate during my interview. I primarily use foursquare for finding nearby friends and colleagues for co-working, impromptu coffee or lunch, or meeting up at events.

    That said, I did share my experience with making new connections, and it would be unfair for me to say I did not also express some desire to make these new connections through the app. In fact, meeting new people is at least part of my foursquare use model, though certainly not my primary intention.

    I'm grateful that foursquare helps me find friends like you more readily, and that established connections on Twitter brought this Globe opportunity to my attention in the first place. Thanks, Steve!

  2. You have such a tortured relationship with, don't you? lol