Big Brother has Landed, and his name is Foursquare

It’s hard to know just how big social media is going to get – and even harder to remember that there was once a world without an internet. We’ve all just accepted this “new normal” in our day-to-day lives – along with digital music, eBooks, iPads and a long list of other tech advances that were barely even imagined a mere thirty years ago.  (Some of which I actually had the privilege to work on at their inception – like Music at Apple.)

In my recent interview with the CEO of BookBaby and CDBaby, Brian Felsen, Brian shared that 80% of people under the age of 30 have never even bought a CD.  (To hear that interview, go to

So where does this go next? It’s more than viral and mobile, in my humble opinion, Social is very quickly becoming Big Brother. Take Foursquare, the king of Geolocated Social Media platforms.  Foursquare made its debut in 2009, popularizing the idea of “checking in,” or using a cell phone application to tell friends that you are at a particular restaurant, bar or park. It’s definitely a cool idea – so cool that Facebook and Google developed their own geolocated check in apps. Everyone wondered if the web giants would squash Foursquare like a bug, but so far Foursquare is definitely more than holding its ground, with over 10 million registered users.

Dennis Crowley, the chief executive and one of the founders of Foursquare, attributed its continued momentum to its singular focus on location. “When people think about Facebook, they think about it as a place to send their friends messages or post updates, not necessarily as a place to check in,” he said. “We’re associated with one thing, location, and that really helps.”

Most recently, Foursquare teamed up with Groupon.  Groupon is actually Foursquare’s sixth and latest daily deals partner, but by no means their last.  Along with Groupon deals, app users also will be able to see deals offered by Foursquare’s five other partners: BuyWithMe, Zozi, Gilt City, Living Social and AT&T Interactive.

In June, they also created an alliance with finance giant, American Express to offer discounts to cardholders when they check in on their cell phone at certain shops and restaurants. (Although Foursquare will not be receiving any revenue from the American Express deal, it says the promotion will help legitimize the company’s approach and will help attract other, more lucrative partnerships.)

How does all of this affect the consumer?  It means real-time, by-location deals will be created through users’ apps.  A simpler explanation:  You’ll soon walk by a Gap and get a Gap deal sent to your device, simply because geolocated Foursquare knows where you are.  Yes, Big Brother is here and we have invited him into our lives, kimono wide open and location checked in.