Friday, October 15, 2010

Why Go Gowalla?

...get used to it folks. The next couple of years will be drenched from the flood of new social media viral wannabes.

Especially after Aaron Sorkin made everyone believe that just because you're a greedy, selfish, egotistical misogynist, it doesn't mean you can't still get filthy rich and surround yourself with adoring groupies. (See the movie, The Social Network when you have a chance.)

So we'll be seeing daily talk about the latest platform or game to emerge in Social Media. Which makes it entirely understandable to ask, "Why Gowalla instead of Foursquare?"

I don't know if there's a real answer, but here are some considerations:
Some ideas in this article makes a great case.

I will say these things though.  I can see some promise in the platform too.  I could imagine a number of interesting possibilities that become possible.
  • A university could establish a "scavenger hunt" that involves locating key spots on the campus, checking in, and then taking the item that is available there. A trip that has the player collect all of the tokens will give them the experience of navigating the campus.
  • An item could be awarded when players submit a photo of the place in question. The collection of those images over time could create a model of the place.
  • On a non-educational track, a merchant's association in a shopping mall (or for a downtown core) could reward shoppers for check-in at a series of businesses.  A custom smartphone client could be used to transmit Twitter (and possibly Facebook) traffic.
The possibilities abound!

By the way, lest you think the last option is one that only favors the merchant, consider that if you post your check-in to a place and they give you lousy service, guess what will be attached to the mention of their brand? Your followup comment.

So I propose that a connected tech maven would find the Gowall app that best suits them, link it at least to a Google Buzz account, but possibly also Twitter and Facebook accounts.  This may not be the best of the location-based games, who knows what that really is?  This one may have some potential. Especially for education and fun. But maybe even for trade.