If you have a phone with internet connectivity, but haven’t yet downloaded foursquare, you are totally missing out on all the fun. Foursquare is one of my favorite apps to date and I’m pretty sure it has to do with the fact that its creators have mixed the perfect cocktail with one part social media, two parts valuable just-in-time information..or something like that.
After downloading this free app on your Droid, iPhone, Blackberry, iPod (and pretty much any other mobile device that at least picks up a wireless signal), you can learn more about your city, and cities your visiting by “checking-in” to locations and finding tips about them as well as nearby businesses and landmarks from fellow foursquare-ers. By checking in you earn points, and those points help you earn badges. One of the best things about foursquare is that you never know what badge you’re going to get next. It took me checking-in to three different airports to receive the Jetsetter badge, and I had to become the mayor of ten locations at one time to land the coveted Super Mayor badge. In addition to badges for completing tasks, you can also fight other players for the mayorship of your favorite locations.
Some mayorships even come with tangible discounts. Starbucks for example, offers a discount on coffee to mayors of their stores. And they certainly won’t be the last retailer joining in on the foursquare fun. You’ll be sure to hear about foursquare a lot in the months ahead as many large retailers are doing their best to jump in and capitolize on this creative use of gps technology.
So what makes foursquare social? In addition to reading tips from other people who have visited the stores you’re checking in to, you can also friend foursquare users and follow their activity on the points scoreboard. Now it may seem a little weird to inform friends of your every move, but it really isn’t. Once you start using foursquare on a regular basis, your ah-ha moment will come when you see that one of your friends is at a bar down the block and you are able to rendezvous at the location with the best happy hour special..at least that’s what happened to me.
Plus, by now, we all know about being good digital citizens and not accepting friend requests from people we don’t know, or those we don’t want knowing where we’re moving around town. Do yourself, and your friends on Facebook and Twitter a favor by not pushing your every foursquare check-in to those news feeds. Not only will this save us from experiencing travel-envy, it will also keep your gps updates to only the friends on foursquare who you’re comfortable sharing them with.
For more information about foursquare, check out their blog, and check back next week when I’ll dive into a little more detail about how to earn badges and mayorships.