Check-Ins, Geo-tagging, Business Reviews, and Social Networks…

By Justin:

So for about a month now I’ve been more focused on understanding the benefits of both business review websites,check-in/geo-tagging social networks and other directory websites. Review websites like like Yelp.com and Google Places versus Check-In/Geo-tagging social networks like Foursquare or Gowalla alongside the new growth of Facebook Places and other directory websites like YellowPages, that is. During my research for my work with my internship where I work as Business Manager, Design Studio Art Gallery (and do research for its sister business, the interior design firm Riggio Design Consultants, I decided to put all of my wonderings into words. Let me preface this blog by saying, this is the condensed version of the blog entry I put on my blog, JustinFair.com. This is a condensed version:

Now, I am more familiar and frequenting Yelp, Google Places, and Foursquare–as I investigate more of these I begin to get a bit more confused of benefits, differences, and what’s good for tieing all of these services together? I haven’t really used some of these services, that’s the next step after I comprehend this all. Keep in mind Google just released their Google Hotspot, Facebook released their Facebook Places, and Twitter as well as blog services are working on Geo-tagging posts. So…they matter too, right?

And so the Investigation Begins…

I want to share something with you: A great example for the ‘Which should I use?’ question is this video : The Check-in War: Gowalla vs. Foursquare – AppJudgment
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXeOIgGgvMs&feature=player_embedded

Now, keep in mind, when I investigate these services not only am I looking up what’s the most profitable and useful for both Design Studio Art Gallery but also for Soulstrong Designs, and my own means of staying in touch with friends, fans of my work, and gaining rewards from going out in general. I want a quick answer, a pros-and-cons list, and I want it fast.

What, when, where, and why? None of these thoughts have standardized answers, and the strange thing is that in many cases, none of this matters. Five to ten years from now these technologies like ‘Where did I send that post from?’ or ‘What can this business offer me by checking-in?’ may or may not still be around.

So, what is checking in?

The concept with checking in, is that you visit a place, they advertise on their window and online that they use that service, you check-in and leave a comment; then, your friends see the review, the business sees your thoughts about their business; then, the business gets feedback and sees people using its service, it creates a reward for you (like a discount every so check-ins); and thus the internet is tied to real life rewards. Services like Foursquare and Gowalla are the hip leaders right now, Foursquare way above Gowalla it seems. And while Yelp and Google Places don’t have ‘check-in’ rewards, you can leave reviews on those websites, just like the new Facebook Places and staples like YellowPages and other websites. Though watch out, Google Places and Facebook Places are blurring the lines and of course rising. Find out more about check-ins via Foursquare with NYDailyNews’s article The next Twitter? Foursquare app for Apple’s iPhone mixes social networking and gaming.

How does a company use all of these social…things?

Eek! I find myself recognizing that if these companies are smart, like I am with Design Studio Art Gallery, we have accounts on multiple services, and in theory, if people begin talking about the business, then more and more people will spread word about DSAG and as I weekly check these services we can cater our business based on some user feedback. Annoyingly, with all of these companies growing and fighting for attention, I know that in the long end, I’m hoping some mergers will make my life easier–but until then, it’s a lot of checking and staying up to date. Strangely, I look into all of this because a lot of people do this regularly! They probably just use one service though, so we need to be on the major ones then as well as some of the little ones too!

A Conclusion?

In the end, I really don’t use any of these services other than Google, Facebook and Twitter, when I want to look up a business or write my thoughts about a place. Haha. For now, I’m a bit too hesitant. After all, Google Latitude is creepy (see PC World’s article, Three Reasons Why I Won’t Be Using Google Latitude). And even then, when I use all of this, it’s normally writing a note on my Facebook wall. At the end of the day, for now, few of my friends actually use these services and so until they do, I’ve got homework to do. Besides, this blog became too long anyway.

Check out Design Studio Art Gallery on:

Article by Justin Fair. Justin is Business Manager and Head Intern at Design Studio Art Gallery in Hyattsville, MD. He is a painter, graphic designer, actor, and writer with Soulstrong Designs, and a graduating senior at the University of Maryland College Park. Justin can be reached at jorlandofair@gmail.com.

View Justin’s original version of this blog post at http://justinfair.com/2010/11/18/check-inssocial-networks/and leave him a comment on his blog!

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