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Swarm 3.0 by Foursquare

Turn every day into a game

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J Crowley@jcro · Product, Foursquare + Swarm
Hey there. J. here from Swarm! Wanted to chime in with some quick thoughts. Swarm 3.0 is one of our biggest and best updates. We've been working on this for months, and I'd love to shed some insights on our inspiration. When Swarm first launched in May 2014, it was focused on being a social utility to help people keep up and meet up. And it did a damn good job at that with passive location sharing with little battery drain, smart notifications when friends were nearby, and lightweight messaging tools. But as a result, Swarm shed a lot of its fun and playfulness. When we unbundled Foursquare and created Swarm, we heard a lot of feedback. And we read every support ticket, tweet and app review. I joined the Swarm team from the Foursquare team in February, and we set out on a mission to "bring back the fun" - in fact, that was our mantra. We've rolled out three big releases since May; (1) revamped sticker game, (2) public mayorships (3) the leaderboard and coins. The leaderboard is a really important piece of the Swarm story. It's allows you to complete against your friends to see who's having the best week. We're quantifying each and every one of your check-ins. It was inspired by the original leaderboard in Foursquare, but fine-tuned to fit usage today. Instead of a rolling seven days where there were no winners or losers, we set a fixed schedule. Swarm’s new leaderboard starts Monday at 12:01am and closes every Sunday at midnight. More interesting check-ins earn you more coins. And we decided to replace points with coins. Coins just felt much more fun to earn than points. You can see them, hear them, and fling them all over your screen. Maybe you’ll even be able to spend them one day. :) Oh yeah - and finish atop the leaderboard and you’ll earn bonus coins! We see Swarm 3.0 as the final piece of the foundation. I want to emphasize foundation, because we have soooo many other ideas and features that build off these games. And we're already working on them! Having been here since 2010, I can honestly say that Swarm is the most fun and rewarding check-in app this company has ever released. If you're a current Swarm user, we hope you dig the changes. If you used to be a Foursquare user, but fell off somewhere along the way - give the new Swarm a shot. On iOS and Android - swarmapp.com Happy to answer any questions, and would love love love your feedback about the new release. Thanks!
Olly S@saltedlolly · Marketer
@jcro Hi J, I'm really loving the direction Swarm is going in. It really seems to have found its groove now. A couple of questions: 1. You say that leaderboards reset at midnight every Sunday. How do you deal with different timezones for this? Is that midnight in NYC? What happens when a user changes time zones? 2. Are there any plans to reimagine city badges / cuisine badges within Swarm? I'd love to see levelling city badges/stickers added that give us an indication of how well we know a particular city. (Update: I just saw you answered this below!) 3. Can you please bring back 'swipe to flag duplicates' in the nearby venue list. I really miss that from classic Foursquare. 4. I still think it would make so much sense to display the profile for the current venue within Swarm. This way, after checking in, we can view/create tips and rate the venue we are at without having to jump to and/or download Foursquare to do so. Is this something you have considered?
Would you recommend Swarm 3.0 by Foursquare to a friend?
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J Crowley
Maker
@jcro · Product, Foursquare + Swarm
Hey there. J. here from Swarm! Wanted to chime in with some quick thoughts. Swarm 3.0 is one of our biggest and best updates. We've been working on this for months, and I'd love to shed some insights on our inspiration. When Swarm first launched in May 2014, it was focused on being a social utility to help people keep up and meet up. And it did a damn good job at that with passive location sharing with little battery drain, smart notifications when friends were nearby, and lightweight messaging tools. But as a result, Swarm shed a lot of its fun and playfulness. When we unbundled Foursquare and created Swarm, we heard a lot of feedback. And we read every support ticket, tweet and app review. I joined the Swarm team from the Foursquare team in February, and we set out on a mission to "bring back the fun" - in fact, that was our mantra. We've rolled out three big releases since May; (1) revamped sticker game, (2) public mayorships (3) the leaderboard and coins. The leaderboard is a really important piece of the Swarm story. It's allows you to complete against your friends to see who's having the best week. We're quantifying each and every one of your check-ins. It was inspired by the original leaderboard in Foursquare, but fine-tuned to fit usage today. Instead of a rolling seven days where there were no winners or losers, we set a fixed schedule. Swarm’s new leaderboard starts Monday at 12:01am and closes every Sunday at midnight. More interesting check-ins earn you more coins. And we decided to replace points with coins. Coins just felt much more fun to earn than points. You can see them, hear them, and fling them all over your screen. Maybe you’ll even be able to spend them one day. :) Oh yeah - and finish atop the leaderboard and you’ll earn bonus coins! We see Swarm 3.0 as the final piece of the foundation. I want to emphasize foundation, because we have soooo many other ideas and features that build off these games. And we're already working on them! Having been here since 2010, I can honestly say that Swarm is the most fun and rewarding check-in app this company has ever released. If you're a current Swarm user, we hope you dig the changes. If you used to be a Foursquare user, but fell off somewhere along the way - give the new Swarm a shot. On iOS and Android - swarmapp.com Happy to answer any questions, and would love love love your feedback about the new release. Thanks!
Olly S@saltedlolly · Marketer
@jcro Hi J, I'm really loving the direction Swarm is going in. It really seems to have found its groove now. A couple of questions: 1. You say that leaderboards reset at midnight every Sunday. How do you deal with different timezones for this? Is that midnight in NYC? What happens when a user changes time zones? 2. Are there any plans to reimagine city badges / cuisine badges within Swarm? I'd love to see levelling city badges/stickers added that give us an indication of how well we know a particular city. (Update: I just saw you answered this below!) 3. Can you please bring back 'swipe to flag duplicates' in the nearby venue list. I really miss that from classic Foursquare. 4. I still think it would make so much sense to display the profile for the current venue within Swarm. This way, after checking in, we can view/create tips and rate the venue we are at without having to jump to and/or download Foursquare to do so. Is this something you have considered?
Bastien Billey@billey_b · Dev
I don't know why I'm still on swarm, in France I'm forever alone on it with just 2 active friends, I don't know how it is in another countries. But it's dead here
Matti Heubner@mattiheubner · Head of Marketing at Vyte
In Germany it kinda works for me.
Théo Blochet@theoblochet · Product Manager @Fueled
@billey_b You're not alone! I am there, too! Can't stop it, but clearly seeing the app fall into decay, as 2 check-ins gets me the mayorships of pretty much every place I visit...
Chris Duell@duellsy · Co-Founder, @elevioapp
@billey_b it's pretty dead in Australia, I used it for a while... but for what
Bastien Billey@billey_b · Dev
@theoblochet now you say it, I saw that you are the mayor on some places I check-in :)
Solene Maître@solenema · PM @applydia
@theoblochet @billey_b same for me :) I'm here too!
Tyler Hayes@thetylerhayes · Bebo
I don't care if it's called Foursquare, Swarm, or DrippityDoo, I will always use this.
Dennis Crowley
Maker
@dens · Co-Founder, Foursquare
@thetylerhayes Ha, DrippityDo is a great name!
James Koole@jameskoole · Product Manager, Hover.com
Reminds me a lot of Gowalla.
Thibault Lemaitre@itibz · Digital Marketing Consultant & Podcaster
@jameskoole Which is a compliment!
James Koole@jameskoole · Product Manager, Hover.com
@itibz Agree! Gowalla was a stunner of an app. I was bummed that it lost out to 4sq back in the day, but it just never got the userbase that 4sq did.
Thibault Lemaitre@itibz · Digital Marketing Consultant & Podcaster
@jameskoole I was using both back in 2011, before they got acquired... They always had so much inspiration/creativity on graphic design & illustrations! So glad that this is in Foursquare now!
Olly S@saltedlolly · Marketer
If I remember correctly, leaderboards in classic Foursquare, had us competing against nearby users in the same geographical area (e.g. our city). In Swarm 3.0, we are competing against all our friends on the service. This is a seemingly small but important change. By competing with our friends regardless of their location, it makes Swarm much more fun for users without many nearby friends on the service. When combined with Mayorships which have us competing with the larger community, we now have two game mechanics that don't require many nearby friends on the service to enjoy. This was always a huge problem with Swarm when it first launched - it wasn't fun unless you had lots of nearby friends using it - so people left. I'm really pleased to see that Foursquare have now fixed this. Hopefully it'll bring back some of the lost users. I personally think this is now the most engaging check-in experience they have built yet - better even than classic Foursquare. Many people are saying that Foursquare are simply putting back features that they removed, but in each case they have carefully reworked and rethought each game mechanic so that they are similar but different. Global Mayorships are back but span 30 days rather than 60 which makes for a faster turnover of mayors. Leaderboard offer competition amongst friends and earn user's coins which we'll be able to spend on things in the future. Badges are now stickers that we can actually use for something, rather than being forgotten in a trophy case. Each elements has been reworked, and is better than it was in classic Foursquare. Furthermore, Swarm has added private messaging which Foursquare never had. The best thing about Swarm is that it has enabled Foursquare to completely rethink and redesign the gamification of the check-in from the ground up. It gave them a blank slate to work from. It was unfortunate this meant alienating some users along the way, but I thing the split is beginning to pay off them in the way they hoped. Swarm is really coming together with this release, and Foursquare has already turned things around for them.