Because I wrote a post the other day about hyper local media, I have been contacted by entrepreneurs in this space - which is actually kind of exciting. I have also made an apparent splash by asking a question about the topic at today's Social Media Week panel at the Time & Life Building
The first communication I received came from the developers of PlacePop, who wrote the following note:
"I enjoyed your reading your recent post about the advent of hyper-local targeting." Flattery will get you everywhere with me, and reading my blog is flattery on steroids.
"Since you have an interest in location-based services, I thought you would be interested in learning about a new app called PlacePop.
PlacePop is a new entrant into the geo-social networking space. Like Gowalla and Foursquare, PlacePop uses a check-in mechanism to connect people with the places they go to, anywhere in the world. However, PlacePop is designed to offer a much simpler user experience that provides value without such a strong focus on gaming elements. Our app is also designed to work well anywhere in the world, small towns and major cities alike.
As an early adopter yourself, I thought you might be interested in taking the PlacePop app for a test drive. If you have some time to try it out, I would really love to hear your feedback on the product we have so far.
You can find the app (free) here in the iTunes store: http://itunes.com/app/placepop
You can also use PlacePop on the web at http://placepop.com"
Prior to receiving this note, I had had the opportunity to discuss my dislike of Gowalla with Ian Schafer, the CEO of DeepFocus, and he encouraged me to give it another try as he, personally found the gaming element of it - specifically the ability to drop and take things from locations - alluring. (Ian had been a speaker at the opening Press Conference for Social Media Week.)
Having had these two interactions and having heard FourSquare referenced nearly as frequently as Twitter and Facebook during the first two days of Social Media Week, I was convinced that hyper-local social media was indeed the next great thing, and that Four Square is the Facebook and Twitter of the space. As it was with LinkedIn and Facebook when I first joined, I find myself friending people I don't really know in order to develop some kind of critical mass. And I know that as time goes on, I will become much more particular and possibly even jettison these connections if they prove to be creepy. In fact, I have already found myself ignoring requests from people to whom I see no ostensible connection except that they might perhaps like my photo. The challenge here is that I have not yet found a way to respond to these people to ask whether I actually know them. Is that functionality available?
On the other side of the coin, I have sent friend requests to panelists that I see have checked in at the location of the event - although I follow up by introducing myself live and giving them the heads up.
Near the end of today's Social Media Week panel about defining the Social Media Editor Role (sponsored by Time Inc. and entitled "Networked News Gatherers"), I posed the following question to the panelists: What do you see as the intersection of hyper-local behavior and social media, and how will this impact you in your role as a social media editor. Rachel Sklar, Rachel Sklar, Business/Project Development, Abrams Research and Writer for Mediaites, answered that while she had been an enthusiastic member of FourSquare for a year (oh, how behind the times I feel), she did not yet see an application for it other than as a way to enhance her relationships with her friends. She did say that somewhere in a basement, a brilliant mind was developing an application that would expand the capabilities and role of the application - in the same way that Twitter evolved.
Cyndi Stivers, Managing Editor, EW.com then added that a key attribute of FourSquare (and, I imagine Gowall), is the gaming element. And this made me realize that hyper-local targeting does not stand alone as the next great trend, but that the intersection of gaming and social media is integral to the development of this space - a la Farmville.
Following the panel, I was approached by Phil Thomas Di Giulio, the founder of the pegshot mobile application - who, by the way, was lucky enough to be trapped in an elevator with Ann Curry at the conclusion of yesterday's panel about the role of social media in the recent events in Haiti. Phil introduced me to this application and also uploaded photos of me, one of the speakers and himself - among others - to the site.