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Foursquare, the iPhone app for people who want to tell their friends where they are, got a big sweet smooch from the New York Times this morning, courtesy of Jenna Wortham.
The featurette starts by comparing Foursquare favourably to Twitter and Facebook, two social networks which dwarf the startup’s userbase in size.
But the article posits Foursquare’s tiny size is part of its appeal. Like a hot indie band or a new restaurant in the neighbourhood, Foursquare is cool because no one uses it yet.
Just seven months old with about 60,000 users so far, Foursquare is still getting off the ground — especially when compared with supersize services like Facebook and Twitter, which have millions of members. But that underground status is part of Foursquare’s appeal, its fans say. It is not yet cluttered with celebrities, nosy mothers-in-law or annoying co-workers.
“On Twitter, there are more than 3,000 people that follow me, and Facebook is more of a business community now,” said Annie Heckenberger, 36, who works at an advertising agency in Philadelphia. “Foursquare is more of the people that I actually hang out with and want to socialize with.”
It is akin to knowing about a hip new club before everyone else, said Deborah Schultz, an analyst with the Altimeter Group who specialises in trends in social media.
“There will always be people who love new technology and want to test it out, kick the tires,” she said. “Once those services become too big and the bridge-and-tunnel crowd shows up, they can lose some of that initial interest.”
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