Steve Etzler and his crew at the Business Development Institute (BDI) drew some 300 attendees to CUNY Graduate Center (the former B. Altman Department Store) in NYC last week. The Mobile Social Communications Conference featured keynoter Naveen Selvadurai, co-founder of the “fastest-growing” location-based social network FourSquare.
|FourSquare co-founder Naveen Selvadurai|
Naveen summed up FourSquare’s underlying mission in five words: “making cities easier to use.” He also shared his and co-founder Dennis Crowley’s initial doubts about such a service, and specifically whether “software can change people’s social behavior.”
These doubts have clearly been put to bed. From TechCrunch (8/29):
“While Foursquare appears to be growing faster than its main competitor Gowalla, other location-based social networks have already hit the 3 million mark. MyTown, another location-based network hit that number earlier this month, and Loopt passed 4 million users in July.”
Here are some notable quotables from Mr. Selvadurai:
- FourSquare now enjoys 1.5-2M check-ins per day
- 60% of its users are from the U.S., 40% overseas with Asia leading the way
- Foursquare now available on all smart phones; Nokia plans to pre-bundle on its new phones
- The company is currently overwhelmed with trying to meet marketer demand (According to the company’s website, as of August 2010, there were over 15,000 venues experimenting with Special Offers on foursquare.);
- FourSquare and Facebook had been in talks “for months” to try to work something out over FB’s entry into the location game.
My primary reason for attending the conference stems from work I’m doing with a pathbreaking company that has cracked the (QR and other) codes for delivering rich content across the (previously siloed) spectrum of mobile platforms. If you haven’t heard, activation codes are the hottest thing in mobile right now.
|Mobile Activation Codes|
A smart phone user simply snaps a photo of a code in a magazine, store aisle or even on a stadium scoreboard, which in turn activates the delivery to his/her phone optimized multi-media content in the form of promotions, additional product/advertiser info, video…
|Porter Novelli’s John Havens|
I had a chance to talk with John Havens, SVP of Porter Novelli Digital and co-author with Shel Holtz of Tactical Transparency, and his colleague Joel Johnson about these and other mobile marketing trends. Havens gave an eye-opening presentation on the imminence of augmented reality and what it means to communications professionals. Here is a link to the audio of our conversation (RT 7:38).
|360i’s David Berkowitz|
Following the morning presentations, conference attendees split up into roundtables, each hosted by an expert in some dimension of mobile social. I decided to audit the group with my pal David Berkowitz, Director of Emerging Media & Client Strategy for digital agency 360i and weekly blogger for MediaPost’s SocialMedia Insider.
Fortuitously for me, David’s topic was titled “How Mobile barcodes Can Bridge Mobile and Social Media.” I had a chance to catch up with him before his roundtable. Here’s the link to the audio clip. (RT 4:50)
Net net, PR peeps: keep close tabs on the growing role the smart phone channel will play for advancing your clients communications goals. (Think beyond activation code recognition to face recognition.) And again, be creative in the kind of content you intend to share.