After I posted an article about foursquare and its use at West Virginia University, Matt Klawitter (@MattKlawitterWU) asked me on Twitter, ”How does this compare to other check-in data — do you use others such as FB?” Well, the only geo-location service that we actively advertise is foursquare but, after that question, I was curious how it matched up against a possible behemoth like Facebook Places and one service that is popular with a co-worker, Gowalla.
I took the top nine official foursquare venues at WVU and compared them against check-in data totals that I found by browsing the search results in both Facebook and Gowalla. The caveats:
- This is not meant to be completely scientific as I’m doing this quickly on a lark.
- Both Facebook Places and Gowalla have multiple entries for a few locations. I decided just to take the best performing entry and use its numbers for the chart.
- The time periods for collecting the data could be different. For example, Facebook Places hasn’t been around as long as foursquare so foursquare could and probably does have a natural lead. Facebook Places launched in August which is well before we actively advertised foursquare on campus so I don’t think it has that much of an advantage.
- The Health Sciences Center would be a top nine foursquare venue but I left it out because it covers a heck of a lot of locations under one umbrella.
Below are two charts comparing check-ins at select WVU locations between foursquare, Facebook Places and Gowalla.
While the charts are useful I figured I’d also share the data just in case.
|Creative Arts Center||1,303||37||36|
|Student Recreation Center||1,149||759||28|
Facebook Places Dominates the Coliseum but foursquare Rules Overall
foursquare, with double the check-ins that Facebook Places has at these venues, obviously takes the top geo-social network on campus. Gowalla is basically non-existent on our campus with less than 2% of the check-ins that foursquare has at the top venues.
Probably the most interesting data-points are the athletic venues. They’re the only ones that have Facebook Places either even or beating, rather handily in the case of the Coliseum, foursquare.
If I were able to look at the demographic data for Facebook Places I’d be curious to see if the check-ins tend to skew to an older population. But that’s purely a hypothesis even if it might be, on the face of it, a reasonable one. See Tricia’s comment about WVU Athletics using Facebook Places at our athletic venues.
Any other ideas on why our athletic venues might prove so popular on Facebook Places when no where else on campus, at least when comparing against the top foursquare locations, generates that much interest?
And hopefully this short post answered Matt’s question.