Checking-In (part 2): So Many Sites, So Little Time

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One of the things I learned quickly while trying to research geolocation and check-in applications is that there are way too many of them to keep track of easily. I am by nature an experiential learner and learn best by actually doing things and trying out new technologies for myself. I downloaded the first couple of applications I found out about- CauseWorld and Foursquare- and enjoyed checking-in at various locations. After adding GetGlue and ShopKick and completely depleting the storage space and battery power of my phone trying to download Foodspotting, Gowalla, and others, I realized there was no way anyone could have a presence on all of these applications, So, I came up with a plan. (For me, at least.) There is really only the need to have 2-3 applications to effectively participate in the check-in trend that is taking place. Here is what I suggest as a way to limit the applications you use.

1. Choose one basic application for geolocation

Choices in this category would be applications such as Foursquare, Gowalla or BrightKite. They will allow you to check-in to your location and learn more about your town, while maybe even getting some sweet deals from local businesses.

My Choice: Foursquare

Reasons: It is simple to use and actually is being used by several businesses in Knoxville to offer deals. I like being able to get a free drink at Hard Knox Pizza (every check-in), a free milkshake at Chick-fil-a (with 3 check-ins) or 20% off at Sweet CeCe’s (for the Mayor). Foursquare also recently unveiled new business analytics pages for it’s service.

2. Choose one gaming application

Choices in this category could include Geocaching, SCVNGR, Tourality, and others

My Choice: SCVNGR

Reasons: Although I haven’t been able to use it yet, I became interested in SCVNGR because it is used by Buffalo Wild Wings here in Knoxville. I am a competitive person by nature and love the idea of getting to complete challenges while waiting for my food.

3. Pick a wild card

Everyone has different tastes, preferences, etc. This applies to social media just as it would any other aspect of your life. For your optional third application, I strongly suggest you choose an application that appeals to your personal interests and hobbies. If you are crazy about food, you might try Foodspotting. Often accused of being a shopaholic? Then you should try out ShopKick for great deals delivered to you as you walk in the door of you favorite stores. There are many other applications out there, and I’m sure you can find one you will love.

My Choice: GetGlue

Reasons: I am a total entertainment addict. I love interacting with other fans about books, movies, music, and celebrities. I also enjoy earning new badges for check-in at box office openings and events such as the Oscars.

Overall, I think one of the most important things is to remember to post responsibly to any of these sites you choose to use. I would strongly suggest that you do not share your personal information (i.e. phone number, date of birth, etc.) with these applications because we know that EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE can see what you are posting. If you can narrow down your applications and post responsible, you will have a long happy relationship with checking-in. To find our more about the wide array of applications and their uses in the professional world check out the short video below.

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ShopKick combines Geolocation, Advertising & Social Good

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As you may know, I have a very string interest in supporting social causes. One way in which I like to do this is through the social cause geolocation application Causeworld. I was horribly saddened last week to log in and find out that the application is being fazed out. Never fear, however, because the owners of Causeworld have created what they believe will be a better more efficient application known as ShopKick. While your credits (i.e. Karma) don’t transfer over, you still have the chance to donate any final karma points you have to one your favorite causes. So, donate your final karmas and switch out the old app for the new ShopKick app, which is available for Android and many other platforms. You can see how the new application works in the video below.

Still skeptical about whether these apps are actually beneficial? Then, you should read the inspirational story of how funds raised by ShopKick/Causeworld helped out the American Humane Society to save dogs in a town only an hour from where I was raised in Georgia. Or, see the adorable students who got new laptops with funds from Causeworld karmas donated by users like me (and maybe you too!). I can’t explain to you the technicalities of how it works, but your Causeworld check-ins definetely helped out a great many people!

ShopKick also has the potential to beneficially affect people through check-ins, credits and donations. There’s a bit of a twist to this application though that wasn’t a primary component of Causeworld. ShopKick is an early attempt to use geolocation apps as on on-location marketing and advertising tool. The app is designed to recognize when you are near stores or when you enter shopping locations and deliver personalized deals and coupons for that store. Some of the big names who are collaborating with the application are Best Buy and Target.

This approach seems to be working according to a Mashable report that the six month old application has seen over 100 million check-ins. A story in Business Insider stated that the new application has 750,000 users, 10% of who check in every day! Mashable ranked ShopKick as one of the top ten apps to watch for 2011. (You may also note that another of my favorites, GetGlue, was even higher up the list at number 3!) The application also made Mashable’s list of 5 check-in apps to check-out. ShopKick seems to be on the forefront of a second generation of check-in applications which I believe will far outshine and outperform the first generation geolocation applications! I look forward to trying out ShopKick myself and to seeing how others adopt this new technology!