Foursquare: From Location-Based Check-in App to Reputation System For the Real World
I like how Foursquare is trying to re-inventing itself from a check-in app to the reputation system for the web real world. The Foursquare badges for fitness social games Runkeeper and Health Month are the first step in this direction.
Runkeeper is an iPhone and Android app that tracks your runs using various types of machines (you can also update your runs manually on the website).
Health Month is a social game that lets you set fitness goals for the month and track your achievement against them.
Fousquare has tied up with Runkeeper and Health Month to give special badges for their users who complete fitness related challenges on these services. The interesting twist is that users don’t have to check in on Foursquare to win these badges.
Both Runkeeper and especially Health Month already had social game features, but the recent tie-ups with Foursquare to create special badges for Runkeeper and Health Month will help them engage a wider audience.
It seems that, as the check-in features becomes commoditized with Facebook Places, Foursquare is pivoting to leverage its game mechanics and badge-based reputation system in contexts other than location check-ins. Suddenly, Foursquare badges and mayorships within the enterprise community doesn’t seem so far-fetched.
As you know, I am really interested in using game thinking to design social innovation games that use different types of fun to design solutions to real-world business and social problems, so I am really excited that Foursquare is turning its attention to such problems.
I am also seeing some good experiments with social innovation games in the area of health and fitness. You might recall that I was really excited about Get Up and Move a few months back. The service (now called I Move You) started off as a promising single-feature social innovation game focused on fitness-related challenges, but suffers from limited use cases and a small community.
What do you think? Can social innovation games like Runkeeper, Health Month and I Move You help us change our behaviors and get fit? Have you come across any other similar social innovation games? Do share your insights in the comments below.