I’m extremely lucky to have been asked back to present at this year’s Information Operations Global Conference in London this June. I had a ball last year talking to folks about the “Andy Carvin effect” and discovering new challenges in the military and government influence space. This year, in addition to a presentation on what to expect next from digital technology, I’ve been asked by the conference organizers to conduct a practical workshop focused on some kind of social technology. I’ve chosen to do something much different than prior years’ workshops by showing attendees how to use Foursquare to compel people to move physically to an influence objective.
My workshop will actually take place over the course of the entire conference. I’ll conduct an intro session where I will explain to participants how Foursquare works and show them the various pieces and parts of the app. Then, I’ll split participants into teams and give them a “live fire” exercise objective: Somewhere in London, a protest against a corrupt politician will be organized. Because local authorities are cracking down on traditional methods of communication amongst the protesters’ organizers, they’ve chosen to leave instructions for supporters to join them using Foursquare. Teams will then be turned loose in London to find the protest.
In preparation for the exercise, I will set up a number of check-in locations around the conference. Some of these will be easy to find; others will require teams to do a little social media detective work to discern where the next clue lies. By the end of the conference, teams will be evaluated on their progress in finding the protest location. We will then brief the conference attendees on our lessons learned from the experience.
I’m really excited about the promise of using Foursquare in this fashion, and it will be a huge learning experience for me to see how military IO professionals might find new ways of using the service. I don’t think the book has been written on how app-enabled location-based services can socially be employed for military and government influence objectives yet. There’s plenty of data on how well Foursquare works for brick-and-mortar merchants, but I believe there’s an additional layer of influenceable data that lives amongst that base layer. Admittedly, a large part of whether this concept would work or not in some regions of the world comes down to user adoption, but of all the location-based services, Foursquare already has the global incentives for users to adopt on their own: virtual rewards (i.e. badges) and physical rewards (i.e. specials and discounts via merchants).
If you have any feedback about to better execute this workshop, or if you have some advice you’d like to share in making this a more value-filled experience for conference attendees, please sound off in the comments.
Details on the conference itself follow:
- Conference locations: Charing Cross Hotel, London, UK
- Dates: 26 June (workshops), 27-28 June (main conference)
- IO Global main website: http://www.informationoperationsevent.com/Event.aspx?id=594180
- Register for IO Global here: http://www.informationoperationsevent.com/Event.aspx?id=594178
- Checking In: Which App Should I Use (mycricket.com)
- LBS-location based services (alihusnaen.wordpress.com)
- Report: Location-based mobile services have huge untapped potential worldwide (textually.org)
- Mobile users want location services (upi.com)
- Foursquare signs with UTA (variety.com)
- Foursquare comes to Bing Maps (news.cnet.com)
- Foursquare Marketing: Tools for Brands Looking to Tap in to Check-ins (searchenginewatch.com)
- Foursquare surpasses 20 million users, 2 billion check-ins (intomobile.com)
- Foursquare and Nokia – a perfect location-based pair (conversations.nokia.com)
- Just Checking…How Many of Foursquare’s Reported 20 Million Users Are Active? (readwriteweb.com)
- Foursquare To Launch Paid Search Ads In June (simplyzesty.com)
- #IFJ12 Keynote speech: Andy Carvin, tweeting the Arab Spring (nextlevelofnews.com)
- Study points to prominence of activists in Andy Carvin coverage of Arab Spring (reportr.net)
- At Andy Carvin’s one-man newsroom: Twitter, Syria and fact-checking (nextlevelofnews.com)