Friends. Followers. Fans. These three words have taken on all new meanings since the advent of social media. We like to think that friends are people we actually know, while we follow entities and brands that interest us. On Foursquare, this wasn’t an option, but it will be in the near future.
According to AdAge, Foursquare is working on user pages which will trump profile pages in that they’ll be open to the public. Currently, when a user posts a tip on a venue, only his friends see that tip. If he’s a popular fellow, he may have a large number of friend requests, which, if he accepts them, turns his personal account into an open book for the world to see.
The new feature will give people the option of “following” instead of “friending” these new user pages. In other words, they’ll work just like fan pages on Facebook. Imagine that. These new pages will allow users to “check-in” without actually being at a location so they can leave tips and ratings. AdAge says the page creation experience has been simplified and no longer requires Foursquare approval.
There are a few rules. You can’t convert an old page and you must put a required amount of content on the page to start. In this way, Foursquare is assuring an influx of useful pages, not just a pile of test cases and spam. There’s no word on if these pages will have to be updated on a regular basis.
Going hand and hand with this report, is a piece on Adweek that says Foursquare will soon be charging merchants to use the service.
“The [merchant] tools allow you to claim your venue and start running specials and see the dashboard. That’s all free right now, but it’s obviously very valuable data. So in the future when it’s a little more robust we see the potential to monetize that.”
Sounds like Foursquare is getting serious and you can’t begrudge them a paycheck for what they do, right? Still, marketers have gotten so used to the concept of free space on social media, it’s hard to imagine them forking over the dollars in order to keep what they currently have.
As for the follow pages, that’s a smart move that should help Foursquare get a few more followers themselves.