Remember when someone rigged up a radio tag to their cat's collar and connected it to Twitter? It told the owner (and the world) what the feline was up to. And remember the east London bakery that plugged its oven into Twitter? Baker Tweets was all the rage in Hoxton (ok, that one was a joke).
But the majority of Twitter's innovation and adoption has come about because of new ways that Twitter was made better by developers using its API, Think Twitter Apps, Tweetdeck, Summize (which is now Twitter Search), Twitter Maps and so on.
Now Foursquare has opened up its API, and with it opened up to a world of possibility coming from what is essentially an opt-in location based personal advertising system.
Imagine some of the following...
- You walk into a shop and your phone buzzes. The shop has messaged you telling you that, because you have visited for the fourth time this month, you are entitled to 25% off anything today.
- You buy a a flat white instead of a latte at your local coffee shop and you unlock a discount code that you can use for the rest of the week, which is waiting for you in your email inbox next time you turn on your computer.
- You visit an art gallery followed by a museum and a new message on your phone tells you five nearby attractions that would also match your interests.
These are just a few throwaway ideas. When you take a digital marketing platform that is as straightforward as Twitter but include the kind of permission based marketing and advertising mechanisms we have seen work well in e-commerce, you get a new type of social system that you use to talk to your friends and where it is ok for businesses to talk to, and sell to you too.