Free stuff at FourSquare. Nano Blogging War Over. Horse becomes Pope.

I know, I know... before you say anything, I know..... Yet again I'm wittering on about twittering. It's only because I actually want to talk about Foursquare (again!) as a result of my findings in Cabot Circus and more recently Gloucester Quays. Anyway - in 6 months time, just remember that I was blathering on about it long before you took it for granted, as you will then.

I won't beat about the bush. Straight to the point.  

When Daughter & I visited Cabot Circus in Bristol on Saturday, one of the things I wanted to try out was some Foursquare checkins and offers in a different city other than Gloucester (or Cheltenham town). This was fine, of course.  It worked reasonably well. I was surprised that a few places we visited weren't already on the Foursquare list of locations, but I was even more surprised at the complete lack of Foursquare offers. Not one did we find.

Gloucester has two or three at least but across the UK, it's still very very early days.  Dublin, the Isle of Man, Liverpool, Norfolk and of course, London appear to be the first places to be getting involved according to the Foursquare Offers website. No mention of any of the Gloucester offers at the moment, but then I suspect that the data set they're using may be a little out of date.

In Gloucester, I've found these:

  • Domino's Pizza Every Wednesday the Mayor of each store receives a free small pizza. T&Cs apply. It turns out that Dominoes are actually running this promotion nationally, so if you needed a reason get on FourSquare there's a free pizza in it if you're canny. 
  • Cafe Rene have 20% off all Char Grill Menu items between 6pm-10pm (including 16oz T-bone steaks and mixed grill) for every check-in! Show check-in confirmation when ordering. 
  • The Old Bell will give you a free shot! Just show confirmation of your check-in at the bar. 
  • Caffe Tucci have 10% of everything for all Foursquare check-ins! Just show your check-in confirmation at the till. 
  • Caffe Corretto also have 10% off all food and drink Monday to Fridays for Foursquare check-ins. Please show confirmation of your check-in at the till. 
  • Sam's Bar & Grill Buy one pizza get another FREE when you check-in! Show check-in confirmation when ordering. Offer NOT valid on Sundays. 
  • Tiger's Eye Check-in at the Tigers Eye & receive 20% off your main meal! Please show confirmation of check-in when ordering your lunch or dinner. 
  • Fever Free shot for every check-in! Just show your check-in confirmation at the bar. 
  • The New Inn Check in on Foursquare and receive 20% off your main course! Just show check-in confirmation on ordering.

I'm particularly looking forward to having a go at this one though, which takes place next month:

Cheltenham Racecourse All Foursquare users who check-in at the Showcase meeting will be entered into a prize draw. Two lucky winners will receive a pair of Club tickets for the Paddy Power Open Saturday meeting. Sounds like a lot of fun to me.

There's no doubt about it, Checking in is starting to gain a hold. But which will get the most usage.?  You see there's a few more kids on the block besides Foursquare, and while it's the most mature of the bunch, it's still early days in the race for "Mayor of Checking In". Facebook places will have the immediate mass user base when it finally launches in europe (I can almost feel that pain today). Gowalla already has a following and then there's Brightkite & Whrrl. Also worth noting is VoucherCloud which doesn't require any checkin's at all, but does have a large take up amongst businesses in the UK.

Of course, it's perfectly possible that you'll use all of them. In which case, I'd recommend you take a look at It's not an app in the sense that you download it and install it, but it's an app in the sense that it's an HTML5 front end to all those places you can ckeck in to. Pretty cool really. Teaser from Martin May on Vimeo.

Regardless of who wins that war, the micro (in fact I think that should probably be nano) blogging war is already over and well and truly won by twitter. Strangely though, I still know more people on Facebook (which I never visit any more) than I do on Twitter. My theory is twofold.

Firstly, the good old resistance to change which is the biggest problem for any new technology. People won't go off and do something new if what they have is already doing what they want.  The problem for the technologists is to communicate to these people how what they've got doesn't do all that they need.  The whole "checkin for a discount" trick, does exactly that. People will check in to get their free "whateveritis" so this is one way to really get the takeup moving. Twitter's problem is, what's the free thing ??  For me, the answer to that is, the free thing isn't Facebook (for whom I have little trust, and less respect)

The other reason is people don't get it. What is Twitter for? or What does it give me? are the questions potential new users ask. To be fair, I struggled with it for a while too, but once you find your feet (or tweet) then it becomes a much simpler place to be. It's like the status update on Facebook but without all the farmville and other annoying uselessness getting in the way. If only I could persuade my Facebook friends to move, but perhaps Facebook Places will help me do that when it needlessly reveals everyone's whereabouts automatically. Oh what fun we'll have.

On that basis, it can only be a matter of time, before twitter has an official plugin for whichever check in tool wins. But there will be plenty more battles before this war is over. In the meantime, the more discounts and deals there are for us as end users, the better.

By the way.  My money is on FourSquare, but stranger things have happened... That horse becoming pope for one.... 3m45s onwards...

This post originally appeared here: Posterous