I find the brewing battle between Foursquare, Gowalla and MyTown to be really exciting. At this point, I'd have to say Foursquare is going to be the winner - no surprise. They're making the right plays, signing a new deal with big brands almost every week and are cornering the market on PR. But they're missing something… It's not really fun to “play” Foursquare.
Foursquare and Gowalla fit more into the Mobile Braggart category. There's not much of a game mechaninc; they're really just vehicles for social expression (read: my life is so interesting!) so I find it hard to care. One might argue that these apps aren't intended as gaming platforms but I'd disagree. Explore your city and unlock badges… that's a blatant game mechanic - carrot-on-a-stick tactic - designed to keep users coming back. Look at the icons and the badge names, the general design even. They're definitely games desgined on a massive social scale. They're just lacking anything particularly game-like to do.
So, what am I whining about? Just this - they're not doing a lot to make due on the actual gaming promise. MyTown, on the other hand, is very much a game. In fact, they've come at it from a different angle - nailing down the gaming mechanics and now quickly adding in the social elements. Was this the right play? Well, they have over 1.5 million users; a number that neither Foursquare or Gowalla can boast. But, MyTown doesn't have the brand recognition that Foursquare or even Gowalla does so they're deficient in that area.
My bet, which shouldn't be a surprise, is that even though MyTown has garnered as many users as they have on the actual strength of their product they're going to be surpassed by Foursquare. Probably very soon. My hope is Foursquare takes a bit of their hard earned dollars and builds out more the gaming part of their universe. Maybe take a few plays from the MyTown playbook and give me a reason to actually use their application. Bragging about my interesting life isn't enough to hold my attention. But bragging about how great I am at gaming could definitely get me out of hiding.
Written by Ryan Nash
Thinking about your social media strategy? This formula works. Just do it. We can help you if you like.
There seems to me to be a two kinds of mobile social users: the Mobile Gamer and the Mobile Braggart.
If you're in the tech industry, as I am, you're one of these two whether you like it or not. It's merely a matter of personal preference. You can “think different” with all your iPhone buddies, look important on your BlackBerry or even hang with the new disciples of Android and still fall into one of these two categories, although I have my opinion which users fall pretty hard into the Braggart definition.
The Mobile Gamer
A gamer is an imaginitive individual at heart with strong escapist tendencies who loves to assume alternative personnas and waste valuable time acquiring vast hordes of e-stuff (read: treasure, coins, $, dead dragons, etc). I fall squarely into this category. The Mobile Gamer is interested in the actual game mechanics, the gameplay challenges, the refining of strategies and the satisfaction of winning.
The Mobile Braggart
A Mobile Braggart wants everyone, everwhere to know exactly what they are doing, where they are doing it and who they're doing it with. It can be as simple as getting breakfast on a Sunday morning with friends after a “crazy” Saturday night hopping from hotspot to hotspot. Checkin. Tweet about how awesome this event is. Checkin somewhere else. Tweet about how awesome the late-night food is. Checkin. Post a picture of your totally amazing Sunday brunch with friends. It really is that amazing.
Written by Ryan Nash (mobile gamer and escapist artiste)
There are over 82 million mothers in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and 35 million of them have children under 18 and access the Internet regularly, based on a 2009 research report by eMarketer. Of this number a good percentage of moms are well connected power users in the social media space. The Internet is an integral part of the lives of 34 million mothers in the US. They not only go online to plan a trip or pay bills, they also use the Web to communicate with friends, share advice, blog and socialize. Moms are the ultimate Internet networkers, as they seek out other moms’ advice for what they’re looking for, with a large percentage of them using the Internet at least twice a day.
Since women do the majority of product research and household purchasing, savvy mommy blogs include product reviews and recommendations on items ranging from infant clothing to packaged food to new cars, brands have been taking noticed on the this trend and are now reaching out to these influencers to maximize their reach and presence online.
Moms visit parenting and family websites and blogs where regularly view news, weather and political content online, among them among the most current and savvy of all online users. They search for shopping deals for their kids, want to learn about cooking recipes, want to be involved in charitable causes, want to be up-to-date with the latest trends, among many other relevant conversational topics that would deal with home and the family. And when they find something great for their family, they talk about it, not only with their family and friends, but often with a much broader online audience. They are among the most technically savvy online power users who use social media channels such as blogs, social networks and Twitter as platforms to extend their influence in the space.
This group has been classified as Mommie bloggers, and they occupy a special place in the space that separates them from other groups online; as they have become the hottest and most influential target demographic that every brand wants to focus on these days. Like moms there are many other groups that are surging in online influence too, and how brands can take notice of them is by paying attention to the latest social trends and by listening to what they are saying and learning about their behaviors when it comes to selecting and buying products that best fits them.
Here is graph showing a growing trend of how much mommy bloggers numbers have increased over the years and what these numbers are estimated to be by 2013.
Written by Reese Ramos – Digital Marking Director
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