Location-based social media

NBC Philadelphia station reports the news on Foursquare

Lost Remote
The local NBC station in Philadelphia has started reporting news on location-based social network Foursquare. Initially, NBC 10 will pick one lead story a day and have a reporter check in on Foursquare from relevant locations and leave text and photo news updates. Later, this will extend to multiple stories and individual Foursquare accounts for each reporter. “Local news is truly driven by location and the act of checking-in further connects our audience to the news we deliver each day,” Chris Blackman, the station’s vice president of news, told Lost Remote. || Earlier: Wall Street Journal launches Foursquare partnership Read more

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How TapIn plans to master location-based news for the iPad

A new iPad app released Tuesday, TapIn, takes some bold approaches to location-based news and to mobile business models.

TapIn puts news and local information on the map.

“We think that it’s going to serve as an interesting prototype for the newspaper of the future,” said Luke Stangel, chief marketing officer of the app developer Tackable (a startup incubated by the San Jose Mercury News) in a partnership with MediaNews’ Bay Area News Group.

“We think about the newspaper that our kids and our grandkids are going to be reading. Increasingly, it’s not yesterday’s news on dead trees delivered to your house. And it’s not necessarily even a website.”

Most mobile news products developed so far resemble print newspapers or text-based websites, he said. Read more

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The opportunities and challenges of Meporter, a new citizen journalism mobile app

A mobile app called Meporter aims to help citizen journalists report on events and breaking news.

Meporter launched Tuesday afternoon at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York City. The app is purposefully simple: Witnesses use it to report news events, and others use it to browse nearby reports.

“We like to call it the local, mobile news desk,” founder and CEO Andy Leff told me in a phone interview. Users can “report, update and read local news as it’s happening from their phones.”

A couple things about Meporter’s approach stand out: The company is offering to license these reports to news organizations, and it is offering real rewards and possibly even payments to the users who create content.

But it faces similar challenges as other apps that depend on a network of users to create and view content: demonstrating its usefulness and attaining a critical mass of users. Read more


Facebook Deals threatens Groupon, could further erode newspaper advertising

As Poynter’s Rick Edmonds noted last fall, “deal of the day” services show how retailers are moving from mass advertising to direct marketing. Now those groupon coupons services are threatened by Facebook Deals, just launched in five U.S. cities. Marshall Kirkpatrick describes how Facebook’s massive user base, demographic information and location check-in could make “roadkill” out of Groupon and LivingSocial. Users will learn about Facebook Deals through their news feeds, not simply email. “Groupon and Living Social offer nothing but deals,” Kirkpatrick writes. “Facebook puts deals in between pictures of your sister’s baby. Which do you think you’ll click through more often, all other things being equal?” A key advantage for retailers: While competitors take a share of revenue, Facebook Deals may be free. Read more

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Holovaty: EveryBlock’s new community focus will ‘help you make your block a better place’

Monday afternoon, EveryBlock announced a major shift in focus, from a geographically-based, hyperlocal news site to a “platform for discussion around neighborhood news.”

In describing the changes, founder Adrian Holovaty wrote on the EveryBlock Blog that the site is moving away from a one-way, data-oriented news feed to a platform for human interaction based on that news:

While we’re not removing our existing aggregation of public records and other neighborhood information (more on this in a bit), we’ve come to realize that human participation is essential, not only as a layer on top but as the bedrock of the site.

“With this in mind, we’ve changed our site to be oriented around community discussion. The EveryBlock experience is still centered around places — blocks, neighborhoods, custom locations — but we’ve rebuilt it from the ground up to be about participation more than passive consumption.

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Cincinnati Enquirer uses bacon to fight Foursquare for local audience with Porkappolis

The Cincinnati Enquirer plans to beat Foursquare at its own game.

The paper is rolling out a location-based services (LBS) app, Porkappolis, that will understand the city in a way national competitors like Foursquare, Gowalla or Yelp can’t, according to Cincinnati.com’s Brian Butts.

The basic functionality of Porkappolis is similar to Foursquare's check-in service.

The app, named in honor of the city’s former “Pig City” fame as a hog packing center, will offer the usual LBS features: check-ins at local businesses and other landmarks, digital badges and leaderboards for loyal users, plus a secret ingredient: bacon.

“Bacon” is the local factor that helps differentiate the homegrown Cincinnati effort from its national competitors. In Porkappolis “Bacon” is literally a tab within the app that provides relevant geo-targeted information to the user. Read more


Tackable works with San Jose Mercury News on crowdsourced photojournalism app

A private company is working in close collaboration with The San Jose Mercury News to build a smart phone app that could put newspapers at the center of a social network focused on photography.

The app, called Tackable, enables people to share photographs tagged with their location and gives editors a way to solicit photos in connection with news events and assignments.

Spartan Daily Tackable app

An early version of the Tackable app is being tested by the Spartan Daily at San Jose State University.

Tackable’s developers are sharing offices with the Mercury News interactive group as they work on features and figure out how the app would fit into the paper’s workflow.

In return, Tackable is building a modified version of the app for the 20 papers of MediaNews’ Bay Area News Group, which includes the Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune. Read more


20 SXSW Interactive panels that journalists should attend

This year’s South by Southwest Interactive panels will emphasize how technology is revolutionizing the way we share content, consume information and engage with the communities around us.

The interactive event, which will take place March 11-15, is best known for highlighting emerging technologies such as Twitter, but many of the panels — the final batch was announced Monday — have a strong journalism component.

In looking through the list of confirmed panels, I was struck by how many of them focus on why people are using sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Gowalla, and what this could mean for the future of content sharing and distribution.

I also noticed that there are several panels on public media. And the majority of panels are led by men. Read more


New Gowalla app offers unified check-ins, friend updates

Fast Company

Gowalla is taking a page from media pundit Jeff Jarvis, who in a 2007 blog post said, “Cover what you do best, link to the rest.”

Gowalla is doing what it does best by acting as a “socially curated guidebook,” as CEO Josh Williams says. And it’s linking to its competitors –  Foursquare, Facebook Places and Twitter.

Austin Carr writes that the latest iPhone version of the app, which was released Thursday, turns Gowalla into a unified location tool. A Gowalla user can now connect the app to Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter and check in to all three services. They can also see their friends’ activity on each site.

This is a major shift in strategy for the location-based startup and one aimed at commoditizing the “check-in” experience in favor of tools and features that may be more easily differentiated, such as Gowalla’s curated trips. Read more


Facebook wants to be at the center of the mobile experience

Facebook may not be building a mobile phone, as has been rumored, but it does want to be at the center of almost everything you do with your phone in the future.

Ryan Kim writes that Facebook’s mobile announcement Wednesday touched on three themes: mobile identity, unified location check-ins and local deals for consumers using Facebook Places. Kim explains each:

  • Mobile identity: “enabling a single sign-on for mobile apps so users can sign in with one button click, without having to fill in a password.”
  • Unified location check-ins: “Opening up its location API for Facebook Places so developers can fully integrate Facebook’s location service into their apps.”
  • Local deals: “Offering support for businesses to offer local deals to existing and new customers. When a user checks in at a location, a business owner can offer individual discounts, loyalty rewards for repeat customers or group discounts for people who check-in with friends.”

There’s more detail in the GigaOm post. Read more

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