Following your friends (for real) on Foursquare

Posted on Jan 27, 2010 :: Insight on Business, Web Exclusive.
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Posted by of Insight Publications

Posted Jan. 27, 2010


Have you
noticed a bunch of posts on Twitter and Facebook lately telling you exactly
where your friends are? That’s all thanks to Four Square, which appears to be
the next big “thing” when it comes to social media.

Using
their phone, Foursquare allows users to check in when they are at a particular
site, whether it’s Starbucks, their office or a business. Foursquare can be
linked to Twitter and Facebook so when you update your location, Tweets and
Facebook posts are automatically generated. In addition, every time you check
in, you earn “points.” If you’re the user with the most check-ins, you become
that location’s mayor.

At least
I think that’s how it all works. I’m not on Foursquare — I basically run
between home, the office and school with maybe some errands thrown in (and most
of the time I’m running so I wouldn’t have time to check in) – but I do find it
interesting to see where people are going.

But as
with everything involving social media, what is the value? For the locations
involved, it’s another form of advertising. If I post I’m at Harmony Café –
that message just went to hundreds of my friends and maybe one of them will
think of Harmony the next time they’re in the mood for coffee. For the user,
the benefits of Foursquare are varied. Some locations popular with visitors may
have messages posted about favorite menu items or maybe even a special offer on
their site. There’s also a competitive element to the whole thing with users
winning “badges” or becoming mayors of different sites.

(I also
find it a bit creepy that anyone can know where you are at any one time
although you don’t have to post every location you’re at…it’s a little
stalkerish.)

It will
be interesting to see if Four Square has staying power or if it’s just a passing
fad.

— By MaryBeth Matzek