Foursquare, the geo-socio-check-in-io website has just launched their newest twist on their popular venue-tagging phenomenon. This time, it’s aimed squarely at the $26 billion-a-year pet industry, and it’s called Four-Legged-Square. Since most dogs now have their own cell phone or at least a set of RFID tags (aka Arfies), it’s easy for them to geo-track each other, fire hydrants, crotches, whatever – and comment on what they find.
Fifi, the French poodle investigative reporter for upscale Scent Magazine, was yapping about it the other day. She’s here in the studio with us now and wants to share her thoughts.
Announcer: Fifi, why this market, and why now?
Fifi: Well, Announcer, it’s just like it was with people. For centuries, people kept track of each other’s whereabouts using two basic tools: gossip, and carving their initials in tree bark. Then this geo-venue thing came along and people can now use their smart phones to track the location of other people’s smartphones. This has taken a lot of pressure off the trees, and so the dog population has exploded.
Ann: An interesting theory, Fifi, but how does geo-tracking apply to dogs?
Fifi: Well, Ann, since there are more trees, there are more places for dogs to sniff, and a lot more information to share. You naturally want to tell your friends and pound-mates about that great new beech grove with exposed roots where everyone seems to be marking. There’s a nice incentive too – as you sniff enough places, you can earn Biscuits. And if you out-sniff the rest of the pack at any one place, you can be elected Dog-Catcher of that venue.
Ann: Naturally. What’s the coolest place you’ve learned about via 4-leggedSquare, Fifi?
Fifi: Well, Ann, our entire office went down to check out a report that a recycling truck full of re-purposed tennis shoes had overturned near West-Side Park. When we got there, the fur was flying, and the noses were packed so tightly you’d have thought it was a pod of humans the day after Thanksgiving. But what a set of stories those sneakers had to tell! There was fresh-from-the-gym, stuck-in-the-closet-for-years, pre-chewed, hung-from-telephone-wires, bunions-on-the-left-foot, and my personal favorite, never-wore-socks. There was so much tagging going on, I thought we’d bring the server down.
Ann: My my, Fifi, that sounds exciting! What’s this tagging you keep talking about?
Fifi: Well, Ann, when you find a place that smells interesting, you can alert your pack about it.
Ann, Can you give us an example, Fifi?
Fifi: Yes, Ann, I can. At the sneaker-sniffer (as there events are now called), one bloodhound couldn’t get close to the action, and wandered away with his head hung low, leaving his nose right above the ground. And by pure coincidence, he happened upon one of the first places Lassie ever peed in our city. At first, of course, it didn’t make any scents, but he scratched a bit, and sure enough, it was a 10 year old Lassie marking. Well, you can bet your last collar that he tagged THAT spot!
Ann: Gosh, Fifi, it seems anyone can participate, and maybe even get famous for 10 minutes or so. How can your average lab or collie get involved?
Fifi: Well, Ann, you need a couple of things: a nose, an inexplicable desire to be top dog of some tiny place, and enough understanding of human psychology to make your owner think that walking through doo-doo encrusted parks was their idea, or is at least fun. Most dogs do it all the time. Anyway, you log onto 4Dog.com, paw in your rabies tag number, and you’re ready to go.
Ann: Well, Fifi, I see our time is just about up. Any final thoughts you’d like to share with our listeners?
Fifi: Yes, Ann, I want everyone to … SQUIRREL!!