foursquare next steps: claiming and consolidating.

By now quite a few of you have read (or been subjected to) my basic primer blog about Foursquare. In the months since, many institutions (mine included) have become more serious about using this geosocial platform. But how do we bridge from grappling over mayorships to serving institutional purposes?

The first (and dreadfully obvious) step is creating a location or locations for your institution, if such doesn’t exist already. The next step involves claiming your official Foursquare location. Weeks ago I applied to claim SUNY Oswego online and heard nothing. When the subject came up earlier this week on Twitter, the ever-helpful JD Ross at Hamilton College mentioned the email address of bizhelp@foursquare.com, so I sent a follow-up email with the site I wanted to claim, my Foursquare account ID and contact information if they had questions. Within _minutes_ Foursquare responded to say I had successfully claimed the venue.

The next step is consolidating locations if duplicates exist. In our case, one could find 3 SUNY Oswegos and 2 Suny Oswegos. Many users wander concentric circles but don’t share a neighborhood. I had noted the duplicates in my follow-up email and someone named Ian from Foursquare asked me to provide him the locations and they would consolidate. First thing Wednesday morning I emailed the duplicate locations and after around 4 hours Ian told me it was taken care of. Fast and effective service!

What to do next? We have the opportunity to create a special for the mayor of SUNY Oswego. This would be easier if my social media budget were more than $0 (zero dollars). Or, more accurately, whatever I feel like paying out of my own pocket.

I also want to create more sites (buildings, key attractions) around campus when I find time; I don’t have any social media interns until fall, so that would be an assignment if I don’t do it in summer. I’ve claimed a Foursquare user account (sunyoswego) for my institution, but whether I remember to change back and forth from my personal account to the institutional one (let alone recall the respective passwords) while creating venues and checking in remains to be seen.

Since I emphasize goals over tools (aka chasing shiny objects), with Foursquare, my overarching goal is to build connections both among the campus community and with the campus itself. Sure, new students and visitors can use it to discover and explore things or become mayor of our library. But I’d like to throw in some other fun, engaging initiatives; as a geocacher I think maybe we could put hidden prizes in some locations and use tips to find them. But these are things to brainstorm and develop … the first step is (was) to claim the space and consolidate to bring our users together.

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13 responses to “foursquare next steps: claiming and consolidating.

  1. As usual, Tim, you are several steps ahead of me, wielding a machete through the geosocial jungle so that I may follow along at a safe distance!🙂

    I just applied to be the manager of the UofR on Tuesday and got a response yesterday saying they were working their way through the queue. I’ll keep J.D.’s email contact in my back pocket.

    My question is: how did you create a Foursquare account for your institution at sunyoswego? Again, I planned to do the same, but the account creation screen is very people-centric — eg, birthdate is a required field.

    My goal for this shiny object is to try an experiment of using it at our Reunion weekend in October as an added fun factor (become the mayor of Mel Weekend!) and a new way for people to connect with fellow alums.

  2. Ooh, also meant to include this — have you seen this Foursquare page for Cornell.

    http://foursquare.com/cornell

    Wonder how they got the “vanity” URL?

  3. Tim Nekritz

    LORI: Just took the easy way out and sunyoswego now has my birthday (August 19), even tho it really was born, in a manner of speaking, in September 1861. And made sunyoswego its full first name (iirc). And yes, I’ve seen Cornell’s listing and has an envy. JD said something about that being a special partnership; I’m trying (currently failing) to learn more about it.

  4. Ed Tatton

    “special partnership” aka. paying customer

  5. Georgy

    Hey Tim,

    Do you think Foursquare would easily (read: in a timely and thorough fashion) transfer management of the campus sites from your personal account to the sunyoswego account? Also, I looked and don’t see an option to get 4sq.com/user/myuniversity, though I have seen people with such URLs.

    Secondly, what are your thoughts on you being mayor of your campus and buildings on campus? Do you think you would refrain from checking in and holding mayorships as the virtual proprietor of the Foursquare campus (since, as an early adopter, you might end up with a lot of them!) or will you keep your hat in the ring and hope students flock and oust you?🙂

  6. Georgy

    Never mind on one part — getting the 4sq.com/user/myuniversity URL comes from linking it to the Twitter account. w00t!

  7. Tim Nekritz

    GEORGY: Not too sure. I guess the point could be made I won’t work at Oswego forever? May look at that down the road, but don’t feel like bugging Ian again too soon. And thanks for that reminder about linking Twitter … hadn’t done that for /sunyoswego yet, but just did.

    As a matter of fact, in the new venue’s second day of officialdom, I was ousted by a student! I look at this all as friendly rivalry right now, and I think having a bunch of folks vying for mayordoms would create interest and make it more fun!

  8. Pingback: Checking in to Foursquare for higher ed | higher ed marketing

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  10. I used Twitter to reach out to @Foursquare (weeks ago) to ask about developing a special badge the way Harvard did. I haven’t heard back yet so I may try this email address.

    I created our outdoor art installations as venues, thinking we might do a special “Cougar art lovers badge” for checking in at a specific number of those.

    Next goal is to have some event–maybe the back-to-school BBQ–become a Swarm.

    WSU has four campuses statewide so I’d also love to see an “Uber-Cougar” or “Statewide Cougar” badge for checking in at each campus somewhere.

    I was faithfully checking in and became mayor of more than one building and the entire campus, then read someone’s complaint about a barista who was mayor at his/her workplace. This of course means no one will ever be able to claim whichever special they may establish for the mayor. I’ve stopped checking in for that reason, since I already have my incentive for showing up here😀.

    I also understand you can go back into your profile and actually delete old check-ins, so I’m going to delete the ones I did personally on campus to free up that mayoral spot.

    This fall we’re going to use a teeny-tiny itsy-bitsy budget to promote affiliation with all our social media accounts as students come back to school. Posting on our Facebook page, checking in on Foursquare, RTing something, or commenting on a YouTube video or the blog we’re launching (with your name so we can see you’re actually a student) will put your name in the drawing for gift certificates to the student bookstore.

    Love reading what others are doing!

    @BarbChamberlain

  11. Re: vanity URLs, I just found this entry in the Foursquare FAQ section: http://support.foursquare.com/entries/210108-how-can-i-use-foursquare-for-my-college-or-university (posted July 7)

    Thanks, Tim, for another helpful blog post!🙂
    @sfgwv

  12. Thanks, Sarah, for that really helpful link! I just submitted the request for the URL. Very timely, as I had just gotten all our venues claimed this week.

    I love blog communities.

    @BarbChamberlain

  13. Pingback: facebook places: right move or out in left field? « InsideTimsHead

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