Foursquare shakes up SXSW: a new start? Or the final rattle?

The good all days when Dennis Crowley (@dens) launched #foursquare at #sxsw. That is exactly 10 years ago, to a day. I was an early bird fanboy, collecting mayorships and extreme badges like there was no tomorrow. Foursquare was this great app that gamified city discovery, and allowed to meet/great the other “explorers”. Because that was how we felt. The sweet days when you had a reserved parking spot, just because you were the coolest Foursquare kid of the place.

And then, Dennis seemed to be busier with his eternal young-looking entrepreneur in hoodie looks than in taking Foursquare to the next level. Other location based services bypassed Foursquare like there was no tomorrow. When Crowley finally split up the app in Foursquare and Swarm, killing overnight the badges and geo-located memories of countless explores, most of the users –me included- packed up, and went.

Neither the new Foursquare nor Swarm apps succeeded in standing out in a landscape where geolocation still is undervalued, underexplored and underused.

The old dinosaur of geolocation launched a new feature today called Hypertrending. By shaking your phone while in the Foursquare app you see where the phones are all over SXSW.

Crowley stated: “This is pretty “heavy” launch for us – besides being a huge technical achievement on our part, Hypertrending also walks a fine line btw “creepy” & “cool“. (read more here

Dots on a map, reflecting the number of devices at a given place at a given time. I don’t know Dennis… I really don’t.

#SxSW: Thanks Dennis Crowley for the Badges!

Last year, in Cannes @princess_misia and I had a long conversation with Dennis Crowley (@dens) in Cannes. We both were disappointed with the fact that a couple of mayor events in Europe happened without a sign of the trusted Foursquare badge. No badge at Cannes, no badge at LeWeb. Rumor even had it that Foursquare would be throttling down heavily on badges.

Now I get it. Foursquare is much more than a badge. It’s a location based social platform, a service that mixes social, locative and gaming elements to encourage people to explore the cities in which they live, and the places that they visit. Foursquare is sharing, pointing good places out, leaving tips, mapping the social underground soft spots of society. But, badges were fun. Thousands of people have been collecting badges over the years, like scouts boys there precious shoulder patches. Collecting badges was one of the mayor drivers in keeping check-ins fun and rewarding.

But here at #SxSW, the badges are back. In style. Close to 20 to collect over a period of 1 week. Let the games begin. Thanks Dennis, we own you a Belgian Beer….

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