Foursquare vs. Twitter

Is the checkin mightier than the tweet?
Is the checkin mightier than the tweet?

I was guest lecturing with a colleague (Scott Irlbeck) at an emerging media class this week and one of the students pointed out that Texas Tech has nearly as many followers on Foursquare as we do on Twitter.

WHAT?

Wait. That can’t be right. Can it?

Foursquare recently celebrated 10 million users, while Twitter has surpassed 200 million users (of course I’m betting 20% or more of those accounts are spam).

How is it possible that the Texas Tech twitter account that was launched in November, 2008, has just over 12,000 followers and our Foursquare account, launched in July last year, has nearly 11,000? I would love for the Texas Tech team to take all the credit, but I’m scratching my head over this one. We are located in Lubbock after all. Specials and discounts are not exactly easy to come by.

Is gamification really that powerful? I have more questions than I have answers. What do you think?

Headline: Facebook Places Don’t Grab Teens’ Attention

Facebook Places
The demise of the check-in is much exaggerated.
Admittedly, I’m a big fan of attention-grabbing headlines, so when this one popped up in my Facebook feed I quickly skimmed the article and shot off a quick email to my colleagues with the link without thinking too much about it.

As an early adopter of location/geobased marketing, I’ve been pondering the implications so I saved a link in evernote to make sure I could reference it again. After further review it occurred to me I had never heard of Dubit before, so I hunted for the research referenced in the article. It took several Google attempts (never a good sign), but I finally found the original.

Dubit surveyed 1,000 teens aged between 11-18 years of age with an equal balance between gender and age. The attention-grabbing bit is “nearly half of 11-18 year-olds have not heard of foursquare or Facebook places.” That’s big. However, what the All Facebook article doesn’t disclose is that the research was conducted in the UK. I think that’s pretty big too, don’t you?

As a side note, without warning Facebook rolled the check-in function to the Texas Tech University page on Friday. Less than 3 check-in’s showed in the analytics. As of the time of this writing, there have been more than 2,000. This anecdotal evidence doesn’t mean much, but my 11 year-old already knows Facebook Places well so I’m not convinced. Yet. I’ll keep watching.