Foursquare: What is it and why would I want it?

Are you the master of your domain? I think of this question made popular from a popular Seinfeld episode as a great way to introduce foursquare. Foursquare would make for a great episode too, in the show about nothing. I can see it George, Jerry, Kramer, Elaine and Newman all trying to be Mayors of there local hangouts, tagging there places multiple times and making a big to do about nothing. That is where I place Foursquare as a social tool to simply just boast where you are, gain badges, and get rewards for checking in and creating a digital trail of you and your hangouts and patterns for later marketing. As the master of your domain do you want that information out there so transparent and is it really fun to check in while you buy things?

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I am sure by now you have run into a couple post on Twitter or Facebook by one of your friends letting you know they were at the local Starbucks or sandwich shop, this is most likely a result of the foursquare app on a smart phone. If you check in to a place more that anyone else in sixty days you become “The Mayor” of that place and get points for doing so!

Simply, I don’t get it. Maybe I’m old fashion, my Seinfeld example attests to that fact, but why? Why would anyone want to give up this data and take the time to “check in” to places they shop and visit? What is in it for them? Is it really that fun to get badges and become Mayor of your domain?

Badges? Badges? I ain’t got no Badges! I don’t have to show you any stinking Badges!

What is this cub scouts? Yes this whole idea of the app reeks as a strange experiment and trendy activity. It will go into history of something that people did but they really can’t explain why, ie. Pokémon cards, Beanie Babies collections. It is silly and a lot about nothing.

Scoring(points):
5- Check in to a new place.
5- Become Mayor of a Venue.
5- Add new Venue.
3- Being the first of a users friend to check into a new location.
1- Checking into a place the user has been before.

There is more, but you get the gist. Don’t have any idea of why you want points and how they help you.

Here are some facts to prove me wrong. Foursquare is popular and has Alexa rank of 829, meaning it’s the 829th most popular site online in the world, not bad! Has 100 employees and 20 million users in twelve languages.

Positives

    • “To do” list. Like shopping list by location.

 

    • Tips to venues. Suggestions on what to do or what to eat or buy at a particular location.

 

    • Specials- businesses that offer discounts to foursquare users, 10% off or a free beer. Currently 750,000 businesses do.

 

    • Foursquare Day – the 16th of April. It has its own day!

 

    • Radar- the ability to notify the user if, for example, they are close to a place on their to-do list or another list they follow or say three friends have checked into a nearby venue.

Negatives

• Check in history search past check ins by month and year. It can tell you where you were and who you were with on a given date and time.
• Posting to Twitter and Facebook where you are at. Do you really want to broadcast that information to the world? That you are not at home now to everyone on the internet?

I figure this info is already in the hands of my phone carrier and since I have an iPhone, Apple knows my habits better that I do. They have all this information but I can’t get my hands on it. I guess this way is making it more transparent to you what your location habits are, as you can search them. Giving you a tool to track you and a way to look back on your life and the places you have gone. Hmm am I changing my viewpoint? Have I just talked myself into a trend? I don’t have to post on Twitter and/ or Facebook. I could just keep the info close to myself.

Maybe I should test drive it for a week and report back next week. I challenge you to do it too, for one week. Take the app challenge. Perhaps you too can become the master of your domain.

-John David Tupper

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