Building a Community Without Real Rules
foursquare just launched in
You’ve people like Andre G who has 106 check-ins in only 10 days. And some of those check-ins are literally seconds apart. Then you have people who check-in from home, which include Ken S, Daniel P and Michel S. Sure foursquare has a help section but there are no formal rules to the game. Some would say you can’t check-in to a place where everyone doesn’t have the same opportunity to check-in as well. Having a somewhat level playing field is only fair. Others might not agree with that statement at all.
So that begs the questions, How does foursquare build a community without real rules? I think there are two co-operating forces that are helping foursquare do just this. The self-policing of the community and building a quality social network of your friends.
foursquare is really about seeing where your close friends are and less about adding everyone you know like on Linked In, Facebook or Twitter. I think foursquare has been able to build up the community because users self-police in the way we do with society and our social norms. I do notice the odd thread in the foursquare bug/help section mentioning a player who does try to game the system and this self-policing does seem to be working so far. It’s not perfect but it’s working.
At the same time we don’t have to add people we don’t want to play with. Sure we may never be the mayor of a location because someone wants to game the system. But if we get the connections going like they do in New York (Foursquare, a Social Network Site, Puts Users Face to Face – http://bit.ly/aPiSW), then none of that really matters at the end of the day because we found our own value in the mobile social network-cum-social game. That value will be different for everyone but end with you spending more time with the people you care about.
In the end I think foursquare can build this great community because many of the user care about the social network and are willing to self-police it for them. At the same time people are more careful about who they add and help create this value for themselves in the long fun.