Social Media Minute: Foursquare Gets VC Cash, Facebook Hovers

4 minute read
Jason Harris avatar

Social media moves so fast, it's hard to keep up. Here are the week's top stories in scan-friendly format:

  • Foursquare Rakes in US$ 20 Million in Funding
  • Yelp vs. Foursquare
  • Facebook Unveils Hovercards
  • Social Media Use Amongst Veterans

Foursquare Rakes in US$ 20 Million in Funding

If you're into location-based services on your mobile device, you're probably aware of Foursqaure. The company has made a game out of checking in, creating an addictive service that seems to be taking hold. Yesterday, Foursquare announced an influx of VC cash to help take the service to the next level including engineering and feature add-ons.

The people behind the funding is an impressive group, including Andreeson Horowitz, Union Square Ventures and O'Reilly. The funding parties see a huge opportunity as more consumers adopt smartphones and Foursquare figures out how to cash in on the fad.

Foursquare is a service whereby you check in to locations and build up mayorships and points. Some business are offering incentives, such as discounts for mayors and syndication deals, revealing a potential revenue stream for services such as Facebook.


Yelp vs. Foursquare

Yelp is a site that has been collectingand socializing location reviews for years. The site has been around forso long that it is synonymous with restaurant reviews. Now, withFoursquare starting to compete in the check-in game, is Yelp in trouble?Not so, according to Yelp officials.

While it is true (asnoted above) that Foursquare has created a fun game out of 'checking-in"to places, Yelp has a large user base of over 2 million unique visitorsand 1.8 registered users. As MarshallKirkpatrick points out, this makes Yelp's user base 15 times largerthan Foursquare's. Also, Yelp recently added the ability to check-in toa location in their mobile app, taking some functionality away fromFoursquare.

Also, to its advantage, Yelp has a base ofbusinesses that support the service and see it as a way to interact withcustomers. With reviews and other useful information, Yelp goes beyondFoursquare's limited "check-in" functionality.

What about you -do you use Yelp over Foursquare? What service do you like best?

Learning Opportunities

Facebook Unveils Hovercards

In a step towards advancing userexperience, Facebook has unveiled a feature that will lead to lessclicks when discovering people. Now in Facebook, if you hover over aperson's name, a little business card-sized box appears, showing youmutual friends and pictures that add more context to a person's namewhile online. Before this enhancement, you likely had to click on theirname to pull up their information, losing the information you had onscreen before.

This may sound like a small step, but Facebookis trying to everything in its power to keep users engaged while on thesocial networking site. As their analytics have shown, Facebook does aremarkable job of having users linger on their site, and this step willfurther drive this use. Also, by easily finding common friends, you arevery likely to add that person and further become more active onFacebook.

Social Media Use Amongst Veterans

In a world of so manyoptions in social media, how are real-world folks using thesecommunication tools to stay in touch? Mashablerecently examined this phenomenon and found some interestingperspectives.

Whereas phone books and microfiche used to be thetools to find old comrades and friends, Facebook and other online toolsexpedite this process. Active military personnel are using Facebook tostay connected with friends and family back home, using this as alifeline to stay abreast of marriages, children and other life events.In other cases, communities of sites are forming to keep certainsegments of the veteran population connected such as PTSD supportgroups.

It is nice to stay up to date with our friends andexchange party pictures, but it is amazing to see how thesecommunication technologies affect real folks. Do you know a militarymember who depends on social media for staying connected? What toolsdoes he or she use?