The observant among you will notice that I haven't deleted my Twitter account yet, although I haven't replaced the mobile client on my phone.
I've discovered a couple of use cases that justify its continued existence for now:
- Highlighting new blog posts, although it doesn't seem to have generated meaningful traffic uplift yet. This one is pending.
- Something to do during slow conference presentations. It makes a change from checking Facebook or my email.
- Being rude about other lousy new social media services that don't warrant the effort of a full blog post.
For example, in less than 140 characters: "Foursquare: useless except to know where to avoid meeting social-media bores, the last group anyone sane would want to socialise with". The whole thing reminds me of the famous Groucho Marx quote "I wouldn't join any club that would have me as a member" .
Gowalla, on the other hand, is *so* bad that it possible merits more than 140 characters, just to give it the deserved dose of vitriol. I initially chose to install it rather than Foursquare on the basis that most of the social-network drones had ignored it, which rather suggested it was cooler. And the stylised kangaroo icon was kinda cute.
After checking in at the Post Office on Baker St and being awarded a virtual pint of beer, I've been scratching my head about why dumping the content of the Yellow Pages into an app and getting people to tick off the boxes is of any use to anyone. I also "checked in" at the statue of George V opposite the Houses of Parliament this evening too, and added the new "spot" of the Institute of Economic Affairs. Wow. My life is now complete.
It's not even very good at suggesting places. If I'm in need of nearby hostelry for a beer, I'm much better off going to the Google Maps app and typing "pub" into the search box and waiting for the hail of marker pins to rain down in a circle around my location. Gowalla has a random and incomplete selection.
Looking at the app while sitting at home, I'm now suddenly aware that I have an urgent need to visit the International Cheese Centre, which is apparently only 300m away. Or the tube station.
And it crashes hangs half the time as well.
Seriously, it's just another flawed way of doing the proven-useless task of local mobile search, with prettier icons. Yet another in a long line of things that are a bit like one of Google's functions, but don't work.
The notion that this type of thing represents the future of massmarket mobility is a total joke. If you're about to spend lots of money on a social media consultant, give me a call instead. I'll help you check in at the Emperor's palace and confirm that he's wearing no clothes. And I'll most likely be able to suggest something else that helps you engage with your customers and make more cash instead.