Now that Foursquare is all the rage (or the bane of existence if you don’t like all those check-in and badge tweets invading your Twitter stream) news sites are looking at how best to leverage location-based social networks.
The recent partnership between Foursquare and Canada’s Metro is a good early example of the potential that exists. Metro will provide Foursquare with location-specific editorial content such as reviews, tips and articles on points of interest.
While the most natural opportunities for publishers will be tied to current news and information, there are also some compelling things that could be done with historical content.
I’d love to see a partnership between The New York Times and Foursquare. With content in the NYT Article Archive dating back to 1851, there is a world of fascinating stories that could be shared.
Imagine coming across Cooper Union in Manhattan and getting to read an article on Abraham Lincoln’s campaign speech there in 1860. Or walking past a nondescript building and learning that it was once the scene of a notorious crime or a landmark club. Not from a recent Wikipedia entry; from actual news coverage from that time.
I bet that nearly every location in Manhattan has been in the news at some point in the last 159 years. Foursquare and the NYT could bring that history to users in a powerful, personal way.
The NYT could also just build this functionality into their own mobile apps, but partnerships offer greater cross-promotional and audience development opportunities.
That’s just one idea. What else can news sites do with Foursquare and other forms of location-based social media?
A few days after I posted this The New York Times and Foursquare launched partnership for the Winter Olympics. Foursquare users in Vancouver will have access to reviews, tips and recommendations provided by NYT travel and entertainment writers. While different from my archive idea, this is a great example of location-based opportunities for news sites. Check out The New York Times page on Foursquare to see it in action.