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Friday, August 06, 2010

When Being Mayor Actually Means Something

WhThere is an interesting article on ReadWriteWeb by Rob Cottingham which talks about Foursquare and mayor-ship.

In a nutshell, Foursquare is one of several different mobile device applications that encourages people to explore their neighbourhoods and other places they travel by "checking in" when they are actually in a particular location (using the GPS technology in their mobile device).  Checking in involves different badges and fun "rewards" such as becoming the mayor of a location when you're the person who checks into it most often.

You can see who else is checked in there and also read comments and tips that other users might have left.  (Tips might be recommendations about a particular product -- at restaurants, it's offen a suggestion about a particular favoured item on the menu)

Cartoon by Rob Cottingham / Noise to Signal

Cottingham talks about giving the mayor of a location in Foursquare real power.  He mentions there are places that offer $1 off coupons for a latte or something similar. But what if a business were to offer something really cool and unique? And this doesn't mean just something monetary based.

If you are a business owner and have a profile on Foursquare, what cool thing would you give to the mayor? Again, it doesn't have to be a physical commodity worth actual $$, but perhaps a cool experience to make people fight over who becomes mayor.

As a bookstore person, I had a few ideas. Sure, a coupon, discount or some other thing could be offered. But people can get great discounts on Amazon. Why not give them something they simply CAN'T GET at Amazon? And one thing you can't get from Amazon, nomatter how broad their selection and how convenient their shipping is, is actual physical presence. (Try checking in to Amazon on Foursquare or another location based application. Oh that's right, you can't --)

Perhaps if the person who becomes mayor is an author (most likely a local author to be able to gain the mayor seat), we might prominently display a feature wall/end unit with their books and a sign saying "Lawrence Hill is the current Mayor of Titles on Foursquare - check in now!" (BTW, Larry lives in our neighbourhood and I'm just using him as an example - in all honesty I'm not sure if he uses the Foursquare app, but he has been to our store enough times that he'd be in the running for mayor)

What if the mayor was allowed to have their own end display/wall display in your bookstore featuring their very own favourite books?

Other fun things we could do at Titles Bookstore that wouldn't cost any money would be to allow the mayor a chance to print their own book on our Espresso Book Machine. Given that the machines are still rare, it's a fun experience that they'd be able to tell their friends about -- they not only watched a book come off the machine, but they got to hit the buttons to make it happen.

What other fun things could a business owner offer to give a Foursquare mayor a real prize?

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