Week 3: Foursquare and QR Codes


As assigned for our course, I downloaded and tried to use the Foursquare application on my phone. In the past, I had seen some friends of mine “check-in” using Foursquare so I went out to try and do the same. I left my house to get a coffee, all set to let people know my location and found out I couldn’t check-in! Apparently Foursquare split into two: Foursquare and Swarm. Swarm is now the application people must use if they want to check-in to a location and Foursquare has now become an application that’s basically the same as Yelp. Learning this, I thought “well then why the heck would one choose Foursquare over Yelp?” So I looked it up and good ol’ Google searching showed me the way. One article I read gave a few good points and said that, as is often the case, it’s all about what type of audience you want to reach, but if I’m any example of what many people think Foursquare is used for it might be more advantageous for a company to invest in making themselves known on Yelp rather than Foursquare.

After further research on what Foursquare used to be I wondered how the businesses felt about the change? I’m sure they had put time, money and energy in creating awards for app users based on how many times a person had been there, with customers competing to be the “mayor” of the location by having the most visits. That competition might have drove sales for different locations so, with that gone, how will it affect their plans with Foursquare? It’s not even an option available in Swarm, though there are efforts to do something similar.

I guess my feeling is that a business that wants to be seen should make itself recognizable on Foursquare only if the cost is reasonable because from personal experience, no one I know is using Foursquare since it split into two. Then again it might just be the type of people I hang out with.

If you want to know their thoughts behind the split here’s a video I found online.

Now about QR codes. Until recently I never really considered QR codes and didn’t even think to look for them. With this assignment I was really trying to pay attention and found that they are not in very many places…I found three. One gave the website of a dump truck company, one gave the website to further information about recycling and the third was for information about a career fair. A year ago Canada Business Network gave some ideas as to how to use QR codes to promote a business and I’m sure there are imaginative people out there working for businesses that could really use the QR codes to their advantage but I’m just not seeing it. It would be neat to see one on a poster for a concert with the QR code taking me to buy tickets, or to automatically put the date in my calendar or even have a sample of the music, or if I’m at the grocery store and they are out of the item on sale I wanted to buy there would be a QR code for me to receive a raincheck for when the product is in, or even making window shopping more than just viewing by placing a QR code beside an item with the directions “Like these shoes but no time to stop? Buy it online here->” or have the customers have a say in the next blizzard flavour by voting through a QR code… I’m rambling, but they’re just some thoughts. It’s too bad I can’t seem to find them in use since I can see potential.


About ecarter

I am currently pursuing a certificate in public relations and have started this blog as a project for one of my courses. Here I will make an attempt at writing thoughts and ideas about communication/public relation topics proposed by my professor. Hopefully, upon completion of my course, I will be able to have my own topics to comment on through researching current trends in the PR community.

Posted on September 24, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I think there are some creative ways of using QR codes other than just redirecting people to a corporate website. Building on your point about possible retail opportunities, a virtual pop-up store was set up in a Toronto subway station in 2012. Similar to your window shopping idea, the company featured images of products where customers scan a QR code to place their order. I thought this was a neat way of using QR codes. The company was able to garner more sales in one day than it had in the previous month, in addition to generating public attention and media coverage (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/virtual-shopping-gets-real-at-toronto-subway-station/article4097553/).

    There are so many different ways to use these new platforms, but it’s ultimately up to the people using them to be able tap into its potential.


  2. The adoption of social media tools that are less recognized pose interesting challenges for businesses. Should they be an early adopter in the hopes that the tool reaches a critical mass where it becomes cost effective or should they wait until the tool has reach a point where adoption makes more sense? I ask this question because you present an interesting point that not too many people in your circle seemed to have adopted Foursquare or Swarm.It seems that Canadians are less likely to adopt a certain social media tool as opposed to our counterparts to the south. Having lived in the US, I knew several people who were active users of Foursquare. I suspect that until business see an economic benefit, adoption will not be very high.

    In terms of your QR codes, I know that the organization that I work for has adopted them as a means to encourage shareholder participation using mobile voting. QR Codes are certainly very useful but I am not sure that any organization has fully understood how to use it and create buzz around its adoption.

    Great post !


  3. Pleased to see a sound analysis of QR codes and Foursquare, although don’t underestimate how many Canadians use Foursquare and Swarm (me for example). Some technologies take longer for people to adopt than others. Useful comments from your classmates as well!


  4. Instagram, with over 150 million active users was purchased by Facebook earlier this year for 1 billion dollars. Instagram users were switched to using Facebook Places. It would seem kind of redundant to have all three: Facebook Places, Swarm and Foursquare– but it’s interesting that 45 million people still use Foursquare. There were 2 privacy breaches in 2010 and one in 2012 that were quickly rectified and I think that created confidence in the brand/app. There is definitely a following for location based services and I think that businesses, if meeting the brand’s business objectives should jump on board.


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