Have you tried Foursquare, the lightweight mobile app that let’s you “check-in” to various locations you visit? Foursquare shows you what restaurants, coffee shops, stores, etc. your friends are visiting. You win badges along the way depending on what types of places you visit and how far you travel in certain time periods. You battle with your friends to become the “Mayor” of a local place of interest. The more check ins you have, the more likely you are to be awarded mayorship.
Is it another mobile game? Is it a local search engine? Some pass off Foursquare and competitors Gowala and BrightKite as a time-wasting gimmickery. Not me.
This is why I love Foursquare:
Okay so you pretty much have to go to work everday, right? So, you might as well show everyone who the virtual boss is, i.e. the Foursquare Mayor of your company. Dominate your friends with the click of a button. Appealing, huh? Even though what you are competing for may not have actual value, winning is fun. Bragging rights and pride can give this stuff a great deal of virtual value.
It appears my former co-worker, Kraig, stopped using Foursquare after losing the mayorship. George, of SEO Lair fame, laid low until I went on a three-week vacation, then snatched the mayorship out of my hands. When I got back, I was accused of having spammed Foursquare because it took him so many check ins to steal my mayorship :)
Just knowing that your friends and family members have arrived is a good thing.
You’ll find your friends in the strangest places. And they will find you. I caught my Mom checking in at my Aunt’s house one day out of the blue. Trying to sneak into town without buying me lunch?
Foursquare mayors do earn currency in the form of store discounts. Offers are in the early stages of being rolled out, but you can imagine the potential for viral insanity when friends start competing for mayorships over favorite venues.
This is just a recent local check-in history, but Foursquare history becomes more interesting for those who travel often and far. Those who do are establishing a travel log with the click of a button, a trip journal that remains ostensibly forever. This proved to be a neat feature for me when I visited Indonesia and could not even pronounce some of the city names, much less remember them. The record preserved in the Foursquare online account appears to be comprehensive. I wouldn’t be surprised if Foursquare developed the history feature further, perhaps adding a trip map or RSS feed or making it exportable.
The exploration and discovery aspect is a good reason to love Foursquare. If you like to travel but do not like travel planning like me, then you just arrive at the hotel and start the Foursquare app. Seconds later, you will be looking at dozens of the closest most popular places to visit. Let me see you do that, Google.
Local + Social
Until Foursquare, local was not a part of my social media experience. I wouldn’t mind attending some of the local meetups, but I have not really been motivated to take the time and risk of going to a Yelp event or the like. Foursquare is bridge between online social and offline social. Seeing and discussing locations around town with Foursquare friends has made me better informed and engaged.
Of course, if you want to take it to the next level, there is even a Foursquare dating app for the iPhone.
The Singles for Foursquare iPhone app lets you view and chat with singles who are at your current location.
Foursquare is so simple. You love it or you hate it. I try a lot of different apps and social media services. It takes a lot for me to really get into an app. I’m in.