Sarah Booker

25/02/2010

What’s the point? – Foursquare

Filed under: Web tool review — Sarah Booker Lewis @ 10:06 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

For some time now I have been pondering the point of FourSquare.

I joined the sit and started checking in with gusto in December 2009. However, I found myself becoming underwhelmed rather quickly.

I was also uncomfortable broadcasting my location, especially after seeing the state of my Facebook and Twitter feeds after a shopping trip to London.

When the website Please Rob Me appeared with its constantly updating list of tweeted Foursquare updates, it didn’t surprise me.

Since December I have given it a try a couple of times, without Tweeting locations, but the game hasn’t grabbed my attention and I couldn’t see wider application for it at this stage.

Then I read Elizabeth Redman’s article on Editor’s Weblog “What does Foursquare mean for newspapers”.

Redman quite rightly points out Foursquare is a great way to link up with venues for reviews and reader offers.

The New York Times has created a badge for people who “check in” at Vancouver Winter Olympic venues.

Canadian newspaper Metro has joined with Foursquare to link editorial content to locations and send alerts out to subscribers/friends.

Reading this I can see the potential for local newspapers, linking reader offers with a Foursquare to do list. The difficulty is grabbing advertisers’ imaginations.

Something I keep reminding myself is how I didn’t “get” Twitter or Facebook in the early days.

Even now many of my colleagues can’t see the point of using social media to drive traffic to our newspapers’ websites and interact with a wider audience.

But, there is hope as the advertising sales people are starting to ask about using Twitter and Facebook. After all, these sites are our fourth and seventh biggest referrers.

Additional (March 13, 2010) : I am still playing with Foursquare and have become mayor of two locations. There is a long way to go before its potential is realised in the UK.

31/01/2010

Live and interactive

FOOTBALL fans enjoy transfer deadline day (apparently) so Lee Hall, my colleague at the Sunderland Echo, is sharing his live coverage of the sporting excitement with other Johnston Press titles. Here’s the Worthing Herald’s transfer day page.

Lee has put a lot of effort into this day, as he explains in his blog D-Day is upon me. It’s a great opportunity for University of Sunderland students, too, as they will experience the real buzz of a newsroom.

Cover It Live is the medium of choice. It is a fabulous piece of software with terrific functions, particularly the polls. I used it for Worthing International Birdman.

However, the Worthing Herald sport department favours ScribbleLive. Why? They have always been able to connect and have never lost service.

We started using ScribbleLive after I carried out a comparison test for Johnston Press’s digital higher powers.

Getting and maintaining a connection had been a problem from the start with CoverItLive (CiL).

During Worthing Birdman I couldn’t connect to CiL using a JP laptop and I had difficulty with my 3G connection, losing the page for an hour or so.

The sports team used CiL three times at matches, the rest of the time it wouldn’t work.

I had an email conversation with CiL president Keith McSpurren who didn’t think 3G connections should cause a white-out in the pop up page.

From our experience the one page does all functionality of ScribbleLive means we have been able to connect and write every time.

A phenomenal example of ScribbleLive in action is its white label service used by Reuters. The Berlin Wall 2o event was fascinating.

A fine example of CiL used at local news level was the Manchester Evening News’ live blog of Manchester City Council’s meeting described by David Higgerson in his blog CoverItLive and Twitter covering councils in a new way.

I also find  commenting is more obvious for the readers in CiL as it’s at the bottom of the feed, whereas it’s at the top with ScribbleLive.

I also miss CiL’s poll function, as I’d really like to use something like it during election coverage.

There is also a preloading function for text and photographs which seems useful but in my experience shows it is difficult to use.

Both platforms are useful tools for any news team, but I stick with what’s working for us. However, I would be interested to hear other people’s experiences, particularly teething or connection problems with either service.

With the way things are at the moment, we are keen to continue with ScribbleLive here, and miss out on the polls etc. unless CiL starts working on our laptops.

In the meantime I’m looking forward to seeing how well the transfer deadline day coverage goes and whether it proves popular with our readers in Sussex.

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