Foursquare Gets the Times Treatment

Foursquare, the location-based mobile application that the Observer has featured several times, has (finally!) earned a profile in the  New York Times.

As co-creator Dennis Crowley told us in July, Foursquare’s next step was to “aim past the nerds.” Mr. Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai might get what they want with a Times article, which will reach a widespread, mainstream readership. But is that what its users want? According to Jenna Wortham’s piece, “underground status is part of Foursquare’s appeal, its fans say,” she wrote. “It is not yet cluttered with celebrities, nosy mothers-in-law or annoying co-workers.”


“On Twitter, there are more than 3,000 people that follow me, and Facebook is more of a business community now,” said Annie Heckenberger, 36, who works at an advertising agency in Philadelphia. “Foursquare is more of the people that I actually hang out with and want to socialize with.”

It is akin to knowing about a hip new club before everyone else, said Deborah Schultz, an analyst with the Altimeter Group who specializes in trends in social media.

“There will always be people who love new technology and want to test it out, kick the tires,” she said. “Once those services become too big and the bridge-and-tunnel crowd shows up, they can lose some of that initial interest.”

One factor that might help Foursquare retain its intimate feel is that most of its members are picky about who can see the real-time footprints that they are leaving across the cities in which they live.

That means users can opt-in to share exactly where they’re going with the public–saving the boss and grandma from Saturday night brawl schedules. Mr. Crowley notes on his blog:

Psyched about this piece for two reasons: #1 great time as we have more good things coming this week, #2 from my experience w/ dodgeball, once NYT confirms something as “legit”, the other regional papers will pick up on it too… which is the kick in the pants we need to get big traction in all those new cities we launched last week.

On Oct. 15, Foursquare launched in 15 new cities, including Baltimore, New Orleans and Kansas City. The application’s user-generated “city guides” are now available in 38 cities. New York, of course, provided the blueprint.


  Foursquare Gets the Times Treatment