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Is Foursquare “Past Twitter”–and Facebook and email and…?

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Two weeks ago or so, I clipped an article from the NY Times that I saved for reflection because it records a phenomenon of technological and pop culture history in the making. A good summary of Brad Stone’s article “Old Fogies by Their 20’s” is the story’s subhead:
“Generation gaps span just a few years,
E-mailers give way to text messagers
who give way to the instant messagers.”
I have been paying attention to, and often clipping, other print explanations and interpretations of similar trends, for example the article “Why Twitter Will Endure,” by David Carr in January 3rd’s NYT Week in Review.
Now here’s another move into the future: the application Foursquare, which has come to this observer’s attention, again, through the NYT (February 20). The headline calls Foursquare and its use “Past Twitter.” The app may have been around for a while and this non-iPhone owner may have not been aware of it because of her need to catch up with younger (hmmm) folk. But, yes, I am open to using social media in fulfilling ways and this sounds like one of these.
What I deduct about Foursquare is that users learn of a local place or site offering something that attracts them, such as a great taco specialty, or “where to get a fritter or West African artifacts.” Those attracted can go to the site, where they meet others who also zoned in. So it moves social networking from a one-on-one process–the individual relating to others virtually, via a tool (iPhone, email, Facebook, etc.), at a distance–to meeting up and socializing in real time much quicker than responding to an invitation to an event posted on Facebook. I flash on McLuhan’s expression “all-at-onceness,” and I’m as awed now as a witness to the above as I was when a communications professor teaching communications in the early 1970’s and I came across this guy McLuhan.
Gotta check it out…


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