WSJ Uses Foursquare: What It Could Mean for Publishing

In What's the Buzz by Hannah Johnson

foursquare on iphone

By Hannah Johnson

The Wall Street Journal announced yesterday that it has launched “The Greater New York,” a local section of the newspaper dedicated to covering New York City.

In addition, WSJ unveiled its new Foursquare account associated with its “Greater New York” news section “in an effort to help readers explore locations around the city.” Foursquare is a location-based social network that allows users to “check in” to locations and share those locations with their friends. Users can leave tips about locations and earn badges for frequenting certain places.

Let’s say you check into Yankee Stadium using Foursquare. If you are following the Wall Street Journal’s new Foursquare account, you will immediately receive tips and content from WSJ about the Yankees and the stadium. That’s pretty cool!

I know plenty of people who don’t like Foursquare. They say, why should I tell everyone where I am all the time? Who cares if I had lunch at the deli across the street? But if you have access to a larger body of location-specific content, the appeal of Foursquare becomes much greater.

What if you check in at a restaurant on East 57th Street in New York City and Foursquare could tell you that J.D. Salinger lived just around the corner from where you are eating? What if Foursquare told you which books Salinger had written and which bookstores in your immediate vicinity sold those books? Or what if you got a link to buy and download the e-book directly to your mobile phone?

The truth is that location-based services are one more way to filter the vast amount of content and relevant information available to consumers, which includes the growing number of books published each year.

If a publisher decided to set up a Foursquare account with local author information, events, bookstores, and incentives for checking in to places relevant to those authors, that publisher might be able to create larger followings in cities around the world.

So who wants to start? I’ll follow you!

About the Author

Hannah Johnson


Hannah Johnson is the publisher of international book industry magazine Publishing Perspectives, which provides daily information and news about book markets around the world. In addition to building partnerships with international cultural and trade organizations, she works with the Frankfurt Book Fair to organize and support a number of its overseas initiatives. Hannah has also worked as the managing editor for an online media company, The Hooch Life, focused on craft distillers and cocktail experts. Prior to that, she worked as a project manager for the Frankfurt Book Fair’s New York office, managing various business and marketing activities.