Windsor-Essex County Celebrates National Foursquare Day!

Saturday April 16th is National Foursquare Day! Hundreds of cities around the world are making plans to celebrate Foursquare and Blab! Media wants Windsor-Essex County to be one of them! “There’s no doubt that social media is catching on and for us to partner up with a local business that’s so genuinely excited to take the next step, is a great sign for the future.” says Jessica Apolloni.

Blab! Media invites the community to a local swarm party sponsored by Lakeshore Cinemas and Pepsi-co on April 16th. Foursquare users who check-in to Lakeshore Cinema between 1pm and 4pm will receive a special deal that includes admission to any matinee playing between 1pm and 4:30pm, a Pepsi product, and a small popcorn for just $6! You can also enjoy a free Foursquare Day cupcake provided by Brittany Hazelton!

It’s a great way to show your support for a local business and to let other businesses know the true power of Foursquare. “At Lakeshore Cinemas we understand the value of social media. We’re excited to explore these new platforms and hopefully be a role model for other businesses.” Says Gina Facca, the new General Manager of Lakeshore Cinemas.

This national day was created by fellow Foursquare lovers and has now grown into a grass-roots celebration of social media as a positive force within the community. Foursquare has helped businesses succeed and created an awesome experience for users that has friends and complete strangers battling it out for badges and mayorships. April 16th is a chance for users to declare their support for Foursquare by taking some time to explore their neighborhood and it’s also a chance for non-users to get acquainted with the concept and learn more about why Foursquare is an excellent addition to a marketing strategy.

If you haven’t heard of Foursquare, this is the perfect time to expand your knowledge. Foursquare is a location based application that lets users “check-in” wherever they go, leave tips, suggestions, win badges, connect with friends and explore the world they live in. From a business aspect, Foursquare is a seriously valuable tool for generating new business, creating incentives for potential customers and rewarding loyal customers. As a business, you can offer customized deals that are rewarded at any check-in, after a certain amount of check-ins, or only to the mayor. You can see how many people are checking into your business and most importantly what they’re telling other people. Foursquare also has a mobile app so smart phone users can check-in or leave tips anywhere, and at any time.

For users, nothing beats the sense of competition. You’re pitted against your friends on a public leader board, scoring points for check-ins, and your profile proudly displays the amount of mayorships you’re currently holding and how many badges you’ve unlocked. The badges are an exciting reward system for users that keeps the application fresh. There is a badge for checking into the same place 3 times in one week, for taking 10 trips to the gym in 30 days and even for finding three venues with a photobooth. The best part about celebrating Foursquare day is the special badge users will receive for checking in on April 16th. But that’s not all, if 50 users check-in within three hours at the Foursquare Day event sponsored by Lakeshore Cinemas and Pepsi-co, they will also be the proud owners of a Swarm Badge, which is an impressive achievement!

Blab! Media is proud to be partnering with a local business that’s so excited about this opportunity. “There are so many businesses in Windsor that have a presence on Foursquare and aren’t even aware yet,” said Katie Stokes “that’s what this day is all about, creating that awareness and encouraging these businesses to dig deeper and see what the application can do for them.” As avid Foursquare users, Blab! Media hopes to inspire some local businesses and bring the community together for a fun afternoon at the movies.

For more information about the event, find us on Facebook by typing Windsor-Essex Foursquare Day Swarm Party in the search bar. You can also follow us on Twitter @Blabmedia and check out our blog for all things social media

Open Up Your World With Social Discovery Apps

We are surrounded by people we don’t know on a daily basis, but what if those ‘strangers’ really aren’t as unfamiliar as we thought? A new breed of apps, categorized as “social discovery’ or ‘ambient awareness’ apps, has been generating a lot of interest. These apps enable you to connect with people based on your current location, relationships and/or common interests.

Apps such as Highlight, Sonar, Glancee, Banjo and Kismet work across social networks by combining check-ins and geotracking with social media platforms like Facebook to provide profile information of people within a close proximity. Keeping in mind that all apps work slightly different than one another, their main objective is to connect you with people based on location, relationships and similarities. Depending on the app used, locations are tracked either by the app itself (using gps tracking) or through check-ins and status updates. When a connection and/or friend is close by or within a set perimeter, your app will notify you with a ping or alert. You are then able to view their profile and connect with them through the app.

Let’s say I stop at my local coffee shop and check-in. My app will notify me if a friend, connection or someone with similar interests is at the same coffee shop or within the area. Let’s just say a classmate of mine is at that same coffee shop, my app will ping me with a notification that they are at the same location as me. This information is retrieved based on their check-in (Ex: Foursquare) and their profile relation to me (Ex: Facebook friends). I can then choose to engage in conversation with them via the app or find them and strike up a conversation in person.
What are the benefits for users?
1. Tells you what your relationship is with someone at the same location, event or check-in spot (ex: you follow them on Twitter, you have a mutual Facebook friend, etc)

2. Helps you find like-minded people to connect with at the same location, event or check-in spot (ex: you both like a certain band, or both share the same religious beliefs, etc)

3. It’s a virtual venue to meet and engage with people similar to you

The current debate is whether or not these apps will catch on or become accepted by social media and smart phone users. Some people may not be ready to accept this new form of locating, meeting and engaging with strangers. The other factor to consider is the issue with safety or security. Is an app of this nature safe for people to opt-in to and is it invading your privacy? We assume only time will tell as the app grows in use and popularity. Will you be checking out social discovery apps?

The Future of Social Media: Top 5 Predictions for Social Media in 2012

Social Media played a prominent role in 2011 – not only proving its worth from a business and marketing prospective, but also emerging as a driving force in worldwide social and political movements. Social Media promises exciting new changes and even more success in 2012!

5. Social Goes Mobile
Nearly 50% of consumers now equipped with Smartphones, making it impossible to deny that these devices will prove to be the next phase of social networking activities. The power behind the mobile social movement lies in the capacity for smartphones to track where consumers are, who their friends with, and what’s nearby. Social mobile efforts in 2012 will focus on tracking what and where consumers are purchasing.

4. Twitter Supports Brand Marketing
Twitter’s release of business-friendly features will continue to drive this medium as a pivotal tool for brand advertising. Twitter continues to prove its ability to spark viral movements, increase word-of-mouth, and promote link sharing, making it a highly effective platform for spreading brand messages to consumers. Simplicity and effectiveness are the key strengths driving the increased integration of Twitter into traditional advertising campaigns. In 2012, brand advertising methods such as television commercials, will begin to integrate Twitter tags to push consumers to the site.

3. Television Programming Integrates Social Networking
Television viewing has naturally adopted social media activities, with many viewers already tweeting, texting, or calling their friends to discuss the shows they are watching.

In 2012, expect more shows that ask viewers to vote and interactive through their social networks, adding a whole new layer of content to traditional media. The launch of the new network, Get Glue, the TV equivalent of Foursquare, allows users to “Check In” to their favorite shows in order to collect stickers that tell the world what programs they like. Social media integration into our TV viewing habits will continue to gain popularity as the ratings for fully integrated programing becomes available.

2. Social Feedback Sparks Global Change
The Occupy Wall Street movement shed significant light on social media’s capacity for rallying the masses. Consumer reactions to political, social, environmental, and economic challenges are felt in real-time through the social feedback and link-sharing ability of site such as YouTube.

Be prepared for the major political campaigns of 2012 to depend heavily on social networks and the power of social feedback. Political candidates will turn their attention towards building their political platform from their social platforms, meaning we’ll be forced to sit through less annoying television commercials, while our personal opinions will be considered more valuable than ever before.

1. Google+ Gains Clout
Although most people still aren’t sure if Google+ resembles the social structure of Facebook or the idea-driven architecture of Twitter, the New Year promises to see a rise in popularity of this particular form of social media.

More users are already signing up for Google+ and the term is officially the second-fastest rising search term of 2011, proving that the future is bright for this part-social network and part-social search initiative. Get ready to watch Google continue to blend the Plus platform into its other offerings, particularly through Gmail and toolbars, in the effort to help users incorporate Google+ into their daily social networking habit.

Social Media Privacy Concerns

We all do it; letting our friends know we’ve gone out to see a movie, we’re at the park, the mall or our favourite restaurant. It seems harmless at first, updating status’, tweeting, blogging but how far is too far? We never seem to think twice about sharing our daily activities online from the mundane to the insane, so letting your friends know you’ve left the country, the city or even the house has never been something to dwell on, until now.

Earlier this year a website called began raising awareness on this topic and has since received a lot of attention for their approach. The site is no longer running but essentially it used Twitters search functionality to show location based updates from people all over the world who had no problem letting everyone know exactly where they were. The creators of this website had a simple message, take caution in what you post online that may let others know when you aren’t at home.

Location based applications such as Four Square are allowing users to check-in and notify all their friends of their current location. An awesome way to find trendy new hangouts and the best sushi in town, but on the flip side you’re letting everyone know that you aren’t home. These applications are revolutionizing the way consumers interact with businesses and brands. Although they may seem flawed, it is our responsibility, as account holders on these social media sites, to restrict our content, maintain our privacy, and interact only with people we know and trust. It becomes very easy to point fingers in a situation such as this but when someone leaves their entire Facebook profile (cell phone number and all) completely open to the public and adds 1085 people they have never even met in a race to be popular, I find it difficult to sympathize.

We value our privacy offline so why is the internet so different? We build large fences around our back yards, we lock our car doors, and we guard our credit cards and social security number with our life. Aside from the frequent criticism of Facebook’s policy, privacy seems to have taken a back seat when it comes to social media. In the past few years people seem to have grown more comfortable with the internet and have gone from providing fake names to posting full addresses and phone numbers.

Before the internet blossomed into what it is today, people used phone books to look up an address or telephone number. Today, personal database sites like are offering “uncensored people reviews” that prompt visitors to enter phone numbers and leave comments about the people with that specific number. Websites like are powered by search engines that pull data on a specific person from every corner of the internet from facebook profile photos and data to news stories from local papers. Websites like these are causing a growing concern as internet users attempt to defend what little privacy they have left. Check the privacy settings on mobile apps and social networking sites so you know exactly what is being shared and remember, sometimes less really is more.

The New Age Of Entertainment

Foursquare may have been the first to make the “check-in” famous, but it certainly won’t be the last. In recent months, multiple services have appeared that are offering consumers the ability to “check-in” to entertainment and cultural concepts. Since the beginning of time, mankind has always possessed the desire to share, it is the means by which we do so that is constantly evolving. Whether it’s discussing a new episode of The Bachelorette, comparing opinions on characters from your favourite movie or just letting the world know how strongly a book resonated with you; GetGlue, Miso, and Philo are your outlets.

These services each have mobile and web applications that promote entertainment-driven social behaviour and each of them has harnessed the power of the check-in.

Philo focuses on live television and is doing so quite effectively. It pulls TV listings directly from cable companies and allows app users to earn show-specific awards based on what they watch and how often they’re watching. The reward system is similar to a hierarchy, as users will work their way up a ladder to earn credits for shows.

Miso, also known as the “foursquare for TV”, creates a social atmosphere for TV viewers. It supports TV show and movie check-ins through iPhone, iPad and web based applications while rewarding frequent viewers with badges.

GetGlue supports check-ins for much more than the mainstream television, it also supports books, celebrities, wine and video games. Users are offered stickers as rewards for app activity.

Checking in and allowing users to make social connections with culture is something that Twitter and Facebook cannot compete with. What each of these services strives for is to set themselves apart from other social networking outlets. Tweeting and updating a status is temporary and within a short period of time tends to fades away and become forgotten. What GetGlue, Miso and Philo offer is of more permanence. Essentially consumers are rewarded for engaging in frequent behaviour and demonstrating loyalty for specific networks, television shows, movies, books etc. It promotes interactivity with a multitude of cultural aspects in our everyday lives and when you stop to process the concept, it seems like a no-brainer.

On the other end of the spectrum, TV networks are salivating over the data mining possibilities. These services offer networks the ability to track a viewer’s engagement level throughout a program as well as further explore the demographics and psychographics of the specific target market. Using these services, networks would have the opportunity to fully engage viewers and ultimately be in control of boosting ratings.

When it comes down to it, each service is offering their variation of Foursquare’s model with the same cultural interaction process in mind. For the time being they will battle it out with consumers and networks but unfortunately, with all three offering similar services, only the best can survive.