Social Media on a Sunday Afternoon: Only in the Bay Area

Yesterday afternoon, I was having a smoothie with a friend from out of town near San Francisco’s Delores Park. He is a technology entrepreneur who had an exit a few months ago and is now exploring ideas for his next gig. He said to me as I was checking into Foursquare: “I use it, I like it, I get it, but I use it as more of a social experiment. I already know where the friends I really care about are and don’t need Foursquare or Gowalla for that.” Or something to that effect.

He sees the real value which he feels is still untapped, is giving people a more targeted and relevant way to meet up with people you don’t know, whether its for dating or new friendships. Foursquare doesn’t solve that or at least I wouldn’t want it to in its current form. That said, there are dozens of people who try to connect with me on Foursquare daily who don’t know me, have never met me nor are likely to. It feels like stalking behavior and frankly, if they don’t know me, I keep thinking – it’s not Facebook, it’s not Twitter, it’s not MeetUp, it’s not a dating service – get a life people.

While I don’t entirely agree with my pal, the real value to me is when I’m at an event. Look at the tremendous benefit from geo-location services and sentiment at SXSW this year…..Twitter addicts used Twitter & Gowalla more during the week since it made more sense to and after they returned home, continued with their typical Twitter usage patterns. Sadly I did both.

For the most part, I don’t find Foursquare as useful in my own city as I do when I’m traveling and often discover a friend is in town the same time I am, and in fact may be a few blocks away. Before he finished his sentence and within two minutes of my “check in”, I received a text message from a friend of mine who was lounging in the park across the street from the cafe where we were sipping away at our smoothies. He was with a group of friends and would I like to stop by? And, oh btw, they were doing a social media experiment. Come participate.

Curiosity set in so off we went. Ten minutes later, we found them under an umbrella on a blanket with a massive wedding cake in the middle, covered with flowers. There was a large shopping bag sitting on the blanket with a sign that said “Want a piece of cake?” Their friends, who were honeymooning in Belize had a hashtag set up which they were tracking from….yes, Belize. As for the exercise, people stopped by, had a piece of cake and said kudos & congrats on Twitter using this particular hashtag. It was a fun and creative exercise using social media to send love and congrats through a “device” to people you never met sitting many miles away on a beach.

I had a piece of their wedding cake and said hello. How? Foursquare met text messaging which met a phone call which met Twitter using a hashtag which met a bunch of folks in Belize which then hit Facebook updates all in a matter of ten minutes. Only in the Bay Area my friend, only in the Bay Area.

Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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