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Month: June 2011

A Week on Foursquare

Note: Several years after I published this post, the Journal’s graphics server was hacked, and the graphic itself was lost.

The graphic above is part of a project Albert Sun, Zach Seward and I did for The Wall Street Journal that looks at a week’s worth of data from Foursquare — which is a mobile app that lets people “check in” to different locations. This was one of those projects that was done in our “spare time” — of which we have very little — so it took us a few months. Foursquare is still kind of a niche technology, used by only a small percentage of people, but it’s fascinating to see just what information you can get even from people who are willing to freely give up their data.

We looked specifically at New York and San Francisco, two cities with many early Foursquare users. Much of the data showed us what we already knew, for example that people in New York have weekday lunch in Midtown and go out in the Lower East Side on Friday nights. But there were some interesting tidbits as well. Among my favorites: The most disproportionately male locations were gay bars and … tech start-ups. And San Franciscans love coffee shops, while New Yorkers love bars. For more, see our graphic and blog post.