The anticipation was so great that I should have seen it coming, but alas I did not, and when I failed to get my superswarm badge I will admit I was a bit annoyed.
And it is frustrating, especially because I was pretty ill that day, and I forced myself to make the trip to London in anticipation of the superswarm badge. Not only that but I tweeted my little heart off to promote the event too.
However, the fact of the matter is that in general, everyone that attended did get their badges (even those that gamed it and checked in from home, you know who you are!). It was a perfect example of how a community can come together for the common good – obtaining a coveted achievement and doing a bit of networking at the same time. From a commercial side of things, the Jewel Bar @ Piccadilly has picked up a fair few followers on Twitter, and is now the official home of the first superswarm event in the UK. Not a bad bit of publicity really, especially as it was mentioned in numerous posts and news items before and after the event. It’s a good example of how a venue can leverage social media networks, particularly niche or young communities, to gain positive exposure and build their brand.
Passers by may well have laughed at the ‘swarm’ of smartphone users all standing outside a bar staring at their phones. And I have to admit it was an amusing sight as we approached, whereby we joined them and did exactly the same thing.
Foursquare is still a pretty young platform, both in its years, and perhaps too in its direction. There still isn’t really a clear focus on where the line between social networking, geolocation and game falls. My Town, the massively popular game on the iOS platform at least has a very clear distinction, but Foursquare has yet to define its self properly.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, Foursquare is easy to game, and this is perhaps its biggest downside. Foursquare maintain support for phones without 3G, allowing users to check in using their browsers on the mobile.foursquare.com website. I wonder how much point there is to this – I know that I would definitely not bother if it wasn’t for my smartphone. There are no available stats on how many users use this method, but I’d be surprised if it stays for good.
On a final note, I did get the swarm badge – something I’ve been after for a long time too, and I was introduced to the awesome De Hems that night too. Good company, good beer. Still felt terrible the next day, though, and I’m only just getting better now. Worst cold so far this year. #win
Head over here for Paul Clarke’s photos of the event
**update** The awesome @Superswarm (Chris Pearson) has been fighting the corner of the people who remained badgeless after the event, and has come up top trumps. The badgeless are now appropriately decorated. Thanks, Chris!