March 23, 2012

Visualize How Foursquare Helps Local Business Discovery

Reading time: 1 min

To this day I’m surprised at how local and when I say local I really mean Canada have yet to grasp the utility of Foursquare for their brick and mortar businesses. Whenever I’ve spoken to clients about Foursquare the main two reactions are total ignorance or total wonder with both saying “how can this help me and why should I use this?”

I’m not going to start going into a full explanation the how, I’m too awful a writer/blogger to literally do this and there are tons of resources online now to help clients setup their accounts and what are the benefits.

I wanted to share this video that Foursquare just published that visually demonstrates what happened when the La Colombe coffee shop opened in NYC’s East Village.

“Each node in this network is a person, and each link represents friendship on foursquare. The size of each node is proportional to how many friends they have, and the placement of each node is determined by a machine learning algorithm called Structure Preserving Embedding. As people check in to La Colombe, they will turn from grey to blue, and their friends on the network will light up. As more people check in we can see how this new place opening spreads across the social graph.”

The main point that comes across for me is how the nodes (person) are all tied together. The way I understand this visualization is  that the Foursquare check-ins are doing the job of spreading the word and influencing friends to visit and discover the new coffee shop in the hood.

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