Can GeoSocial move beyond the game?

As I play with more location aware social networks I find myself asking the same question.

What does this service provide that’s going to keep me coming back?

I like points, badges, and achievements as much as anyone but they aren’t enough to keep me around for the long term.

The problem with putting the focus on the game is I’ll eventually reach the highest level or just get bored. (I’ve got a boatload of PC games collecting dust and a deleted MyTown iPhone app as proof.)

wargames_large_18 The game aspect may be crucial for encouraging initial usage and building a user base but it isn’t a sustainable model for engagement. The empty calories of game playing must be followed with substance.

Where’s the Beef?

Long term user participation isn’t rocket science, the requirement is simply…

Provide Value

Geosocial must:

  • Inform – Give me insider tips from locals to friends’ favorite items in restaurants and geosocial will become an indispensible guide to the world around me.
  • Connect – Help me find others in my neighborhood that I may not know and suddenly we are using technology to reconnect with actual neighbors.
  • Reward – I like discounts, especially at places that I already visit. Incentivize my participation and geosocial can become an ever present coupon book.

In addition to these user benefits GeoSocial apps must also profit businesses.

Local restaurants, small businesses, and regional chains should be able to gauge the return on participation and engage their clientele. Once GeoLocation apps accomplish this then it will find itself at the intersection of a useful symbiotic relationship.

There isn’t a real roadmap and value creation requires an active and growing user base but is it too early to begin wondering which location based social network will successfully get beyond the badge?

So to the other early adopting extroverts exploring Gowalla, Foursquare, Loopt, Brightkite, Yelp, etc… I ask you-

What value are you receiving from geosocial? What are you looking to gain from these apps?

If you are in Central Arkansas and interested in GeoSocial join us tomorrow night at #RefreshCA

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