If you didn’t see today, the first ever Foursquare check-in happened from space! An astronaut named Douglas Wheelock used Foursquare to check-in to the International Space Station. He got a badge for it and everything and the Commander is now the mayor of the space station and the first person to use a geo-location service from space. The story is going crazy and is easily the biggest piece of cosmic social media since the first tweets last year.
So why does this matter? The normal person can’t check-in to space so who cares? Well, two things: It may prove to be a huge win for Foursquare as Facebook Places looks to catch on, and two, it further establishes location services as a marketing contender in the social media realm. Obviously, the space check-in is a novelty thing done to attract attention to NASA’s social media efforts, but it shows the power of the game element inherent in Foursquare, SCVNGR, and other up and coming location networks. (More on gamification next week)
Check-in doesn’t need to stick to restaurants, businesses, homes, and other physical locations, it can easily be made into an interactive social media marketing campaign that also physically engages people and builds brand awareness through similar (for lack of a better word) stunts like NASA’s. See the ‘North Pole’ badge.
So, while space may have a social media mayor pretty firmly in place, the ground we walk on everyday is wide open with amazing possibilities for businesses to activate and engage their customers and community on a whole new level…or altitude.