It started as a nice gimmick: checking in where you went and sharing that precious information with your friends. But as Gowalla, Foursquare and Facebook places found out real quickly, it takes more than just offering the opportunity to make people use the service.
Dennis Crowley pointed out in his keynote at #SXSW that he intends to bring Foursquare beyond the mere check-in. “Screaming and begging for a check-in is counter productive,” he said. “Offering people more opportunity to connect, and to share information about their environment and experiences is what makes a location-based application thrive.”
Crowley has a point. People do not embrace applications for the sake of it. After a rather short honeymoon with a new application, they want to see a clear benefit to keep on using it. The experience Crowley was talking about was way bigger than just Foursquare and radar. It is about how to morph an application in an experience that is worth sharing. The location-based app, that steps up to be your social savvy city tour guide, pointing out the best places, the grooviest vibes, and the restaurants that matter.
That is the heart of the whole SoLoMo thinking. Location based, social powered, and accessible on mobile. SoLoMo should not put the application in the focus, but the social experience. Gathering social pointers, contextual information, and honest crowd feedback are the keys to success. What works for the scientific community is now coming to your social experience: peer review.
Powered with honest reviews of people about their experiences, SoLoMo becomes an important experiential influencer. People follow opinions and experiences from their peers with more than interest: all studies show that peer review and peer influence are critical factors in the buying cycle.
Foursquare (and others) want to capture your experiences and your contextual feedback for the next user. Based on your profile and location, they will soon be able to sniff your intentions, and give you contextual information about that. Forward looking pointers, information on what you are most likely to do… SoLoMo passed yet again an important crossroad.