Next week will be the annual Kalamazoo Social Media Week with a variety of events designed to promote social media and local businesses. It also happens to be Foursquare Day (4/16) on Tuesday. Be sure to check out the all of the events and details at www.kzoosmweek.com, and stop on by if you can. I hope to see you there!
I’ve noticed an interesting trend lately. It seems there are “retro” versions of our favorite websites and services popping up all over the place these days. From what Twitter would like in the 80s to what Facebook would look like in the 90s and even Google done through a BBS Terminal. They’ve even gone so far as to spoof everyone’s favorite smart phone apps, Angry Birds and Draw Something as old PC games. I always get a kick out of these and applaud everyone who has taken the time to make them.
My first computer experience was in the 80s when my parents (both teachers) were able to bring home an Apple IIe over summer vacation. There was something magical about that big, beige machine loading up a game of Oregon Trail or my favorite as a kid, Fischer Price Bowling. Everything on-screen was so blocky and the gameplay so simple by today’s standards but it was still hours and hours of fun. I think we’re at a point in technology where everything has moved so fast and is improving everyday that people want to reminisce about those old days. They want to slow down and enjoy the BASICs (see what I did there?) again. I’m more than grateful for today’s modern technology but I do thoroughly enjoy this recent trend of imagining today’s services as if it was yesteryear. Have you found any other versions of these? Please share them in the comments, I’d love to check them out.
A while ago About Foursquare reported on a really cool new map service called CityMaps. They’re billing it as “the social map” because it’s connected to a number of social media services like Twitter and foursquare. What I find most interesting was the inclusion of logos on the maps instead of just names. As a designer I’ve got a soft spot for logos so an entire map full of them makes me smile. I think it’s a really unique way to convey the information. In a lot of ways, it’s a lot more useful too. If I’m looking for the nearest Starbucks or McDonald’s, their logos are going to pop out at me much quicker than just their names. In this day and age logos are so recognizable that this approach seems to make perfect sense. I’m actually a little surprised this hasn’t happened sooner.
Beyond just the unique logo integration, they pull in foursquare tips and recent tweets. It’s a really great mashup of social information on top of a nice looking map. Right now they just have maps for New York, San Francisco and Austin but there are more on the way. There is even an iPhone app so you can enjoy CityMaps on the go. With all of that info combined together it really shows just how powerful APIs can be. I think they’re trying to make it a useful “explore your city” services but so far I don’t think it has much on foursquare. I’ll be keeping an eye on CityMaps because it’s already cool and has so much potential to become even better.