foursquare: a review

If you’re reading this, you probably already know what foursquare is.

If not, read this!

At first, foursquare creeped me out.  I had that cliche “I don’t want people to know where I am” attitude that always comes up when foursquare is mentioned.  But then I realized that location based social networking was a new thing for me.  New is scary.  I gotta stop being a pain in the arse and understand this tool.   So I dove in.

I still didn’t get it.  Living in Cape May County, NJ, I quickly became mayor of the whole darn county.  No one was using foursquare.  I was adding venue after venue and for what?  I still don’t know.  Specials were not being offered by the venues.

Maybe my efforts are now being used by the “next generatinon (ha)” of foursquare users in the county.

The value of foursquare really hit me when I moved to Portland, ME in March 2010.  Here I was, now living in a city with legitimate restaurants, venues, and stores.  There was so much for me to discover…but how could I tackle city living?  Enter foursquare.

  • Tips: People actually added tips to the venues I was checking in.  For example: when I checked into the local fair trade coffee shop Others! I got a message popping up saying to check out a place called Tony’s Donuts.  Yum.  Goodbye Dunkin’ Donuts, hello local goodness.
  • Friends: Holy crap!  Other people use foursquare in this city!  Even if you don’t know people, add some people as your foursquare friends and see what they’re up to.  Nothing brings people together like food.
  • Twitter/Facebook: It may cause a lot of  “noise” on Twitter and Facebook, but sharing your check ins on these social media sites will lead to more interaction with your community.  The downside?  Joe or Stacey from Nebraska probably don’t want to hear how you’re enjoying some Yaki Udon at Fuji in Portland, ME.  The plus?  Your new friend from Portland, ME may recommend something at Fuji to go along with your meal.

Of course, there are drawbacks to foursquare …

  • Game: There are gonna be some folks that think foursquare is a game.  Yes, you get points.  Yes, you can get badges.  But, and this is just in my own opinion, foursquare isn’t a game.  It’s a tool for sharing information about your community.  It is a tool to promote local business.
  • “Cheating”: I used quotes because I don’t really know what else to call it.  It’s just too dang easy to check into locations that you’re not at.
  • Multiple venues: So, let’s just say I REALLY want to be the mayor of my library, but someone has 50 check ins at the building and there’s no way I’m gonna become mayor.  An easy way around this?  Create a new listing for the venue.  Once again, not cool.  Maybe it is the librarian in me, but I’d prefer one listing per venue with correct contact information.  Perhaps foursquare should look into hiring a librarian?

All in all, foursquare helped me get adjusted to life in my new city.  For that, I am thankful.  However, I have no real desire to become mayor of every venue in this town.  I find myself checking in less and less as I learn more about my city.  My point?  foursquare is a great tool for discovering new things.  Once you’ve done that, it may be time to move on.  I sort of have.

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2 responses to “foursquare: a review

  1. Very good review. I’m a fan of both Foursquare and Brightkite. Both have their own uniqueness. As you say, they’re great for finding tips about new places.

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