Tag Archives: Gowalla

Vail Resorts seeks to bypass Foursquare & Gowalla

Drop Your Knee Not Bombs!

Powder day at Vail. Photo credit: Flickr, zachd1_618

Vail Resorts has begun beta testing a new location-based social network for skiers and boarders at Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone, Beaver Creek in Colorado and Heavenly in California. Dubbed Epic Mix, the system relies on the existing bar code scanners the lift operators use to scan your lift ticket before you board the chair lift.

I found out about it when a friend skiing at Vail this week posted an update on his Facebook page. (Apparently I missed Vail Resorts’ August news conference in New York announcing Epic Mix. I mean, it was in August. Who holds a news conference in August?)

This video explains:

At any rate, the idea is pretty simple. If you have an Epic pass, which is a plastic ID photo with an RF identification chip embedded inside, you can join the network.  Continue reading

When Foursquare and Twitter are at their best

Image representing Foursquare Solutions as dep...

Image via CrunchBase

On my way back from a business trip to Texas earlier this month, I had a layover in Charlotte. When I checked in on Foursquare, I saw that my Twitter friend Olivier Blanchard (@thebrandbuilder) was in the airport, too. I tweeted him a direct message and it turns out he was at the restaurant next door. We ended up connecting in person and having a great conversation about his work, brands, blogging and the like. What was really fun is that we discovered we went to the same college and studied under many of the same professors, though I had graduated before Olivier had enrolled.

Olivier and I had never met in person before.

That’s what I love about social networks — when they connect me in person with people I would never have met. Participating otherwise doesn’t hold much value for me, except for those Gowalla badges. (Just who is their graphic designer, anyway?)

Everything has its Place

My father's workshop was quite a bit more organized than this one.

When I was growing up, my father had a workshop filled with tools of all kinds. He had a table saw, drill press, several power sanders, dozens of wrenches, clamps and other woodworking tools. Each one was kept hanging on a special hook on a pegboard wall.

Everything had its place.

Since beginning this blog, I’ve started used several other social networks and social media tools to communicate with different groups of people in my life. Some channels are for co-workers, some for reporters I work with, some are for Sprint’s customers and yet others are just for my close friends and family.

What I’ve been trying to figure out and keep straight is what tool to use when.

After some thinking, like my dad’s workshop, I’ve decided every tool has its place:

This blog is where I talk about public relations, internal communications and marketing. Recently, I’ve strayed from that and mixed in some posts which are about Sprint and the wireless industry (but not in the context of the PR or marketing in the wireless business.)  Going forward, I expect to use my Posterous site for posts like that.

I’m using You Tube to provide video content to both sites. (I love my Flip Cam!)

Plancast is the tool I am using to keep track of interesting tech gatherings and the people who make them interesting. As the audience for Plancast grows, I expect my purpose for it will change.

Foursquare continues to intrigue me. I think once more businesses recognize its potential to create a loyal and local customer base, it will take off. For now, it’s winning out over Gowalla, namely because I use a BlackBerry and Gowalla, inexplicably hasn’t launched a BlackBerry app yet. I use both as a way to learn about new restaurants and bars and other interesting places. Note to Foursquare and Gowalla users: I don’t consider the baggage claim at your local airport an interesting place.

Linked In continues to be the best way for me to keep up with my co-workers and people I once worked with. (A note about Linked In: I only add people to my network who I’ve worked with closely or know well. If you use Linked In differently, please don’t be offended when I opt not to add you to my network.)

And yes, I use Facebook, but really as a way to stay in touch with close friends and family. If you want to treat your Facebook page like Twitter, go for it — but for me, it’s a much more personal tool. (I continue to be surprised to get Facebook friend requests from Twitter people I’ve never met in person.)

One rule I have about Facebook which I recommend: don’t friend anyone from work. Period. Inevitably if you friend that one friend on your team who you know you’ll stay in touch with long after you’re no longer working together, you end up getting friend requests from that guy in accounting you really don’t know or worse, that woman in sales you really don’t like. Rather than risk hurt feelings with people I work with, I don’t friend anyone I work with. When people leave the company or when I change employers, that’s a good time to add them to Facebook.

Another Facebook rule I started during the 2008 elections — don’t use Facebook to engage your friends about politics or religion. I have a friend of 20 years who was vehemently supporting several candidates I disagreed with over some religious issues. When I expressed a different opinion than his, he unfriended me.

(That’s what prompted me to start two other blogs — one on politics and the other on faith. Neither are associated with my name, but they are my places on the web to say what I really think about issues that are uniquely personal for most people.)

Twitter is the thread I use to stitch all of this together. It also continues to be the best source for interesting information that I wouldn’t likely uncover on my own. With the addition of Twitter lists, I’ve been unfollowing people I don’t have regular conversations with and adding them to the various lists I keep. (That’s helping me better manage the Twitter fire hydrant.) For me, the people I follow at any given moment are the people I am having a conversation with — they are not necessarily the folks I like or agree with.

I am sure there are others who use these channels to communicate differently. But that’s the point of all of this, isn’t it? What works for you, won’t necessarily work for me and vice versa.

Speaking of what works, what is working for you?

(Image credit: Fotographix.ca, Flickr)