“You! In Waterstones! I’m watching you…”

We follow a fella called Chris Brogan (author of an excellent book called Trust Agents) on Twitter and via one of his (many) blogs.

He recently tried a bit of an experiment.

  • He searched on Twitter for the words,“I’m at Barnes & Noble” (a US Bookshop like Waterstones) , which came from a FourSquare check-in.
  • He then went through the list of results checking the profiles of the Twitterers.
  • For those users who fitted his profile, he  sent them a direct message asking them if they’d seen his book, (and instructions on where to find it)
  • This, naturally, started a dialogue with them, because it was the author talking directly to them!

Now, Chris admitted this was not a great use of his time, but imagine this being automated by a big publishing house:

  1. A bit of code submits a real time search for “I’m in Waterstones” every 30 mins
  2. The code then searches the results for people who like, for example, “John  Grisham”
  3. The code then sends a tweet @ each relevant user (how does this work?) with something like, “In Waterstones? Like John Grisham? Show this code and get 3 for 2 on any John Grisham Book”

Of course this would work for any chain. Free Garlic Bread whilst in Pizza Hut? Extra shot in Starbucks? Free crisps in Wetherspoons?

Even if it doesn’t sell more product, you’ll definitely tell your friends about it!