i'm fluent in javascript as well as klingon.

hello world. my name is Ryan Alexander Boyles. often, it's pronounced the RAB. i'm into declarative living. i am a connector. this is my life-stream / tumblr / blog. call it what you will. find my sxsw posts. any questions, ask me anything! btw, here is a standard disclaimer.


It's like RSS is making a comeback or something.

Facebook, Foursquare and LinkedIn are the latest to follow Twitter and Tumblr’s lead. See what i did there? with the word play. Ah just go read the social hyperbole. So I guess the loose ties talk and network effects stuff is the way after all. Break down your walled gardens! (but also install this ephemeral private messaging app over here to the side.)

I sympathize with the marketer’s lament for a simpler time when you could just buy some TV ads a year in advance, drink a few martinis, sexually harass your secretary, and go home. Even five years ago, a home-page stunt or takeover might have sufficed. Today, the platforms you “need to be on” change every few weeks. Facebook Groups are out and Pages are in. No, Pages are out and Subscriptions are in. Tumblr is the new black, and email is actually the best social network. Tom from MySpace has returned … on Facebook. And what on earth is your Pinterest strategy? Oh, you don’t have one? Congratulations, you just unlocked the Irrelevant Businessperson Badge on Foursquare. Even figuring out your platform of choice doesn’t provide much comfort or stability because the platforms don’t want to share all their rules and methods out of well-placed fear that some of you will abuse that knowledge. Or, maybe they don’t even know themselves. Social media services seem torn between protecting their users, empowering their users, selling out their users, and annoying everyone. Now, try measuring that. What is success? Impressions? Clicks? Mentions? Sales? Viewers? Some new unit based on a dopamine meter and backdoor API installed in the user’s hypothalamus? Yes! Let’s call that metric “feelies.”

Info about Location Aware Social Networks & Mobile Apps

Lots of people have asked me since I retweeted/reblogged Wayne Sutton’s location social networks poll last night which of these are on BlackBerry (or mobiles other then iPhone)? Welp, check out my quick run-down of these apps available for your non-iPhone mobile of choice.

Brightkite has mobile applications for BlackBerry, Android, iPhone and WAP (for little web browsers). Their i.brightkite.com mobile site for Safari on iPhone was pretty awesome too but this seems to have been put out to pasture. This is still my favorite location-based social network for lots of reasons I’ll get into later. Also they have integration for Augmented Reality browser Layar for you uber geeks with iPhone 3GS mobiles. Very very cool. Brightkite has twitter (with geo-location tagging too), Flickr (also with geo-tagging), Facebook, Fire Eagle integration as well as Photo upload, QR Code and SMS support (send txts to 41414). Remember, SMS is a very valid and handy interface for social networks. Heck, consider I used SMS for Twitter almost exclusively for the first 2 years! I had 40404 on speed-dial. Just ask Wayne (yes the mocking was uncalled for!).

Foursquare has mobile applications for BlackBerry, Android, Palm Pre and iPhone. They have a mobile website I’ve never tried and SMS support too (send txts to 50500). It’s the hip new contender with the gaming mechanics and SMB marketing edge that is making waves and generating huge buzz. Also has Facebook, twitter and Yelp integration.

TriOut has a mobile application only for iPhone (for now). This new location social net is intended for NC users only and is in private beta. Tri-Out is for those out and about in the Triangle (Raleigh, Durham & Chapel-Hill). Très Hyper-local, no? (I have a few invite codes if yaw are in Norf Calack) The app just added Flickr and Foursquare integration to compliment the existing twitter and Facebook integration. Lawrence Power (app developer) has mentioned that Yelp, Brightkite, Posterous and maybe even Gowalla is likely on the way. Ahem, uh, Tumblr? Hello?! ;-) There is also a new Awards and points system giving this application a light weight gaming aspect as well. Watch this up and coming app. (BTW, doesn’t the new Yelp dashboard UI look a heck of a lot like the TriOut application? Yelp conspiracy?)

Speaking of Yelp, they just added check-in functionality to their iPhone app. Back to my point, Yelp has many mobile apps including BlackBerry, Android, Palm Pre, iPhone and a mobile web version. You also have twitter, Facebook integration and photo uploads. Yelp is also pretty cutting edge with it’s Monocle augmented reality feature.

Also, for consideration - Whrrl - for group storying telling based on location. It has a cool iPhone app and mobile web version for other phones. Check it out. I don’t use Gowalla, but many seem to like it for similar reasons to Foursquare. Gowalla seems to be iPhone only and currently has no public API.

Facebook is bound to be envious of all the attention that these upstart social networks are getting and are likely plotting and scheming what/when/where to add geo-location to their network. Heck, they just ripped off er added Retweets um Via’s to Facebook. Maybe Tumblr should challenge for the rights to that verbage since ‘Reblogging' has long been displayed through nested Via's to annotate reblogged posts. But I digress; who am I to say? Seems they ought to do something cool with Friendfeed and location. They have all the feeds to make it happen with a little Facebook connect magic.

BTW, I am sporting the 16GB iPhone 3G in super awesome white.

Foursquare. Everywhere.


Hey all -

So this has been a pretty big week for us.   Since we launched last March, our #1 most requested feature has been “please add my city!”  After a few months of work, we thrilled to announce that we finally ripped apart the “foursquare only works in cities” model and replaced it with “foursquare everywhere” - the ability to add places and check-in anywhere in the world.

News of this spread pretty far and wide (we were a trending topic on Twitter for a bit!) though the news hit when we were about 75% of the way thru the “everywhere” launch (which is why some things may have looked wonky for a few days). And now that we’re about 95% done, we wanted to take a minute and tell you all the things that are new and some of the things that have changed:

  • City Buckets - With “everywhere” you no longer have to place yourself into one of our “city buckets”.  A lot of you signed up for  “San Francisco” when you were really in San Jose or “Munich” when you were someplace else in Eastern Europe.  With “foursquare everywhere” you can now place yourself anywhere in the world.  When you use our mobile apps (iPhone, Android, Palm, Blackberry beta) you’ll see that foursquare will no longer “snap” you to the nearest city.  And when you use the website, you’ll see that the list of cities has been replaced with a text box that allows you to enter any location you can think of.  The only piece of old “city bucket” code you’ll still see is in iPhone 1.4.3 (the city list when you sign up) which we’ll kiss goodbye when 1.5 sneaks into the iTunes Store.

  • City Badges - Every city used to have their own set of badges - that’s why some of you earned the “Newbie” badge 5x (for five different cities) or unlocked the  “School Night” badges 3x in three different cities.  While this was a great idea at first, it started getting silly when we jumped from 20 to 50 to 100 cities.  With “foursquare everywhere” we rolled all these duplicate badges into one (e.g. 5 Newbie badges have become 1 Newbie badge).  Now when you travel around, you’ll no longer lose all your hard-earned badges every time you land in a new city.  Instead you can take that “Don’t Stop Believing” badge with you from New York to Paris to Tokyo.  Also, since we figured a few of you may get bent out of shape about your 3 “Newbie” badges being rolled into one, we also just launched a whole new set of badges for you to try to unlock (10 total… with more on the way!)  And don’t worry, city-specific badges (e.g. Brooklyn4Life, Gossip Girl, Socialite) aren’t going anywhere… in fact, our new back-end actually makes it easier for us to create them. So, we’re open for suggestions :)

  • Adding New Venues - Asking you for the address of a place every time you add a new venue can be a drag…  which is why we finally made these address fields optional.  Now when you add a venue from one of the foursquare apps and skip over manually entering the address, we’ll use the phone’s GPS to set the location of that place.  This should make adding new places much, much easier.

  • City Leaderboards - When we dropped our “city buckets” we also tweaked the way we handle the leaderboard.  Starting next week, instead of comparing yourself to everyone in “San Francisco”, you’ll be ranked against everyone who has picked up points within within 25 miles / 40 km of your current location.  This isn’t really a big deal as it still “feels” the same, but we still wanted to let you know about the change.  Oh, and the leaderboard still resets every Sunday at midnight (local time).

So what’s next for foursquare?  As excited as we are to launch “everywhere”, we still got lots of new stuff planned for you all (and lots of work to do!). We’ve been listening to all the feedback and suggestions you’ve been sending in and here’s a sneak peek at what to expect in the next few weeks:

  • Better Location Fixes - iPhone version 1.5 is much better at locating places nearby.  You may have also seen that we added new filters to call out places that are “Trending Nearby” and places that are popular with other foursquare users.  Look for lots more goodness like this from us.

  • The BlackBerry App - Our #2 most requested feature :)  More than 5000 of you are actively testing the BlackBerry beta app and we look forward to opening this up for everyone to play with *next week*.  (Feedback so far has been fantastic, so special thanks to all of our beta testers!)

  • Design / UX - In between ripping apart cities and rolling out new features, we’re also in the middle of a big UX / design overhaul for both the iPhone and website.  We’re thankful for all the feedback you’ve give us so far and really look forward to launching this (long overdue!)  Stay tuned!

  • Tweaks to the Points System - We’ve been doing a lot of tinkering over here so look for new ways to earn points and work your way up the leaderboard.  We’ll also be rolling out some tweaks to help curb the some of those cheat-checkins.

  • Palm WebOS App - Forget about the next few weeks, this one is available now!  Built off our API by Geoff Gauchet, Christopher Van Buskirk and Andrew Walpole. Go get it!   http://foursquare.com/palm/

And that’s about it!   Thanks again for all the support - we can’t be any more fired up to be building things that so many of you are excited about.

- team foursquare

@dens, @naveen, @harryh, @tristanwalker, @nathanfolkman, @msingleton, @finitor

interesting developments. will brightkite and others react or differentiate?

Niche Location Social Networks

for your consideration:

  1. Brightkite
  2. Dodgeball Foursquare
  3. Dopplr
  4. Tripit
  5. Gowalla
  6. TriOut
  7. Pegshot
  8. Fireeagle
  9. Whrrl
  10. GroupStory
  11. Yelp
  12. Urbanspoon