Foursquare & Bravo: Real Housewives In Your Real Life? How About Putting Kell On Earth On Your Itinerary?


Yesterday, the New York Times’ Bits Blog announced a partnership between Foursquare and the Bravo TV network, thereby combining two of my favorite things into the perfect peanut-butter-and-chocolate moment of social media meeting media media.  As part of the partnership, Foursquare will be offering special badges to people who check in at 500+ ‘Bravolebrity-recommended’ locations, from Patti Stanger’s pick Dave & Buster’s to Gail Simmons’ brunch fave August.

Between TV spots advertising the partnership, and the inevitable social media buzz Bravo’s gonna get from teaming up with Twitterati-darling Foursquare, it’s pretty clear that this particular pairing has the potential to please even the Toby Young-iest of media pundits. Throw in some sweepstakes and specials, and you’ve got a win-win-win for the web-tv-advertiser relationship, not to mention Bravo audience.

After all, isn’t aspiration at the core of our compulsion for reality TV (the medium Bravo traffics best in) anyway? It’s not like we’re watching Real Housewives, Miami Social or Kell On Earth to learn valuable skills, improve our knowledge about a subject or indulge in well-written wit and narrative charm. It’s because we like watching beautiful people doing exciting things – things we wish, at least on some level, that we could do ourselves. Now, all you need is a phone and a Foursquare account to do just that.

Want to shop where Jill Zarin shops? Or lunch where ‘the Countess’ (Luann De Lesseps) lives it up? All you have to do is turn off your TV, turn on your phone and fire up the Foursquare. Find your way to one of the Bravolebrity picks, send out a tweet to tell your friends how cool you are, and maybe even pick something up while you’re there (if you can afford it. We don’t all have hefty reality show paychecks clearing our accounts every month).

If you ask me, this is one of the smartest synergies of old and new media I’ve ever seen, not to mention a boon for the Bravo fan in all of us (go on, admit it, you love Andy Cohen just as much as I do). By allowing the Bravolebrity to connect directly with the Bravo fan, and by giving that Bravo fan some concrete content to act on, Bravo and Foursquare may have just unearthed one small piece of television’s future – a future where the cult of personality meets the stream of constant connectivity. Camera crew and controversy optional.

Foursquare: Game, Gadget or Get-Me-Off-My-Ass Magic?

Foursquare appI’m currently locked in an epic battle with someone I’ve never met. I don’t even know what my formidable foe looks like. I don’t know how old she is, whether she’s young or old. I’m not even sure if I know her real name.

I do know that she’s my stiffest competition for the title of “mayor” at the LA Fitness in Hollywood. And, I do know that the less she goes to the gym, the better my chances of victory are. Secretly, I kind of hope she spends 2010 eating bonbons and watching The Bachelor.

Where does all this epic battling and fierce fitness competition go down? Foursquare, of course. In case you’ve been living under a cave that doesn’t get 3G service, Foursquare is a location-based application you can “check in” with whenever you arrive at a new bar, restaurant, gym, etc. You get points for checking in to new venues, and the app will automatically tell all of your friends and followers where you’re at. You can also see if anyone else is checked in at the same places you are, and a lot more.

Whenever I try to explain Foursquare to people they always inevitably look at me like I’m nuts. Terms like stalker and privacy get thrown around. And inevitably, they always ask why — what’s the incentive to use it, why give people your whereabouts all the time?

Which brings me back to my battle for LA Fitness supremacy. You see, when you check in to a certain place a certain number of times, you get crowned the “mayor” of that venue. Which doesn’t mean much, unless you happen to be somewhere that gives better deals to its mayors (plenty of places do by the way). But that’s not how it works at LA Fitness.

Becoming the mayor of LA Fitness doesn’t get you any deals or discounts. It doesn’t suddenly imbue you with any magical powers, and you can’t start suddenly forcing them to schedule spinning around your work hours. But, it does come with glory — lots of glory. And all the bragging rights Twitter has to offer. And competing for that glory gives me one more reason to get my ass out of that computer chair and into the gym.

At the end of the day, I guess I’d say getting my ass out of the chair and out into the world is a huge factor for wanting to be on Foursquare.

Not only can I see where my friends are, and keep up with what they recommend doing, but it also helps me keep up with doing things myself. Seeing that so-and-so went to that bar, or spent the weekend doing that amazing activity (ahem, @laurelkaufman and her ice skating), inspires me to want to do those things too. And to want to just do things in general — things that take me far from the computer-covered cave of my daily digital existence. (Not that I don’t love my office — in fact, I’m the mayor there too, for the record).

So bring it on this 2010, my faceless fitness foe. I’ll be waiting for you by the treadmills — just look for the girl trying to figure out how to run and IM at the same time.