I’m a fan of new social networks; I really am. I’m the first to jump on the bandwagon of an innovative social network. About 6 months ago, I played around with FourSquare. (For those that are unaware of FourSquare, it’s a social network designed around geo-location; basically informing your friends where you are at all times.) Beyond geo-location, FourSquare is loosely based around Microsoft’s achievement system for the Xbox 360. The more times you check in, the more badges you earn. About 6 days after I downloaded it, I deleted it from my iPhone.
Lately in the office, I hear lots of people talking about FourSquare like it’s going to catch on. The problem with FourSquare is that it’s not a business; it’s a feature. While I believe that geo-location will be the next goal for social networks to conquer, building an entire business around that single concept will ultimately fail. FourSquare doesn’t tap into your existing social networks but rather requires you to create an entirely new social network to invite your friends into.
I spend enough time on Facebook and Twitter. Convincing me to slice off another piece of my time to dedicate to another social network is unlikely, unless it brings a larger network of my friends to the table. Add in the fact that Twitter launched it’s geo-location feature this week and it becomes even more pointless. When Facebook finally gets geo-location, I would imagine that FourSquare’s growth rate will fall rapidly. Why would I want to connect to a social network of 500,000 people when I can connect to a network of 400 million.
Oh that’s right. I can earn a pointless badge…