As 2009 draws to a close, with Twitter undoubtedly this year's media darling and Facebook continuing on its path to global domination, you may wonder which social-media service will become tech's poster boy in 2010.Now this may be hard for my mainland readers to comprehend, but practically nobody on Saipan Tweets, so I'm not sure if this is going to take off on Saipan. Another reason it probably won't take off is that it is a city based application, meaning that if you don't live in the one of few dozen cities listed on their website, well, you just don't get to play.
Among the Web's early adopter set, the answer is nearly unanimous: Foursquare.
While the technology landscape is ever-changing, I'd argue that Foursquare already has aligned itself to become next year's mainstream hit.
Birthed by the team that brought us the mobile social network Dodgeball (acquired by Google in 2005 and later shuttered), the location-based mobile startup serves a simple purpose: It lets an individual share his or her location with a group of friends.
Foursquare ventures beyond utility, however: It's a virtual game in which participants earn badges for checking in at various locations; those that check in most become a venue's "mayor." By all accounts, this mechanism is as addictive as Twitter, Facebook or checking your e-mail on a BlackBerry.
I wanted to see what it was all about though so I join and listed my city as Tokyo. I could have listed my city as Honolulu, but Tokyo is closer to us even if Hawaii is part of the United States.
So basically what you do is whenever you are "out" you send a message to Foursquare telling them where you are. You get points every time you check in and you get more points for checking in to lots of places. The person with the most points at one particular place gets to be the "mayor."
I am currently the Mayor of Godfather's Bar. Not a lot of people are using this website yet, but CNN predicts it will be as popular as Facebook and Twitter. I looked for contacts on my email and only two other people had joined, meaning I'm most likely the only person in Micronesia who has joined.
Anyway, thought I'd share. Check it out.