The great and the scary things about Foursquare

Foursquare’s a funny thing.

It’s one of those social media tools that polarises people.  It’s also one that Joe Public still hasn’t heard of.

Prakky on Foursquare
Prakky on Foursquare

But if you’re  social media fan, it’s likely you’ve used this location-based app to share where you are, leave tips, read recommendations and meet up with friends.

Almost two years after signing up to Foursquare, I’d like to share  some thoughts about the tool.

I ‘famously’ wrote about ditching Foursquare in a post in February. At the time,  I didn’t promise that I was quitting entirely. I said I’d take a hiatus:

“While it’s going to be hard for me, I’m going to say goodbye to Foursquare for a little while. I won’t delete my account. I won’t slam the door. But I will stop checking in”.

And I did, for a time.

It was liberating but also strange. I had become so very used to checking in to Foursquare when visiting coffee shops, restaurants and the like. (Mind you, to fill that void, I simply started tweeting about where I was. Psychologists, feel free to step in any time now).

But then Foursquare upgraded and after reading countless tweets about people enjoying it, I decided to start wearing my check-in hat  again (and boy, did I hear about that from my online networks!)

Some of the great things about Foursquare:

  • If I’m meeting Twitter friends somewhere (which frequently occurs) I can check the venue on Foursquare and see if they’re there yet. (Sometimes, it also identifies others there that I’d like to meet – a nice side effect).
  • If you feel like going out, whether it’s to the beach, a winery, or a cafe, you can check Foursquare to see where friends are, and join them.
  • You can read Foursquare lists, or the checkins from trusted friends, to gain ideas for your next visit to a restaurant, café, hotel, even doctor.

And the scary? I hear some people say:

  • I don’t want people to know where I am
  • It’d be too easy for people to stalk me

I wrote about ways to combat these scenarios in my first blog post about Foursquare. As with any social media tool, you choose your level of involvement, your privacy settings, and what you’re willing to share in order to gain something from the tool.

Organisations still aren’t embracing Foursquare enough to make it exciting for the wider public to adopt. However with companies like Westfield using Foursquare to reward Mayors with a carpark, and  pubs like The Duke offering a free drink if you show the doorman your Foursquare check in, it’s gradually being trialled and adopted.

Foursquare remains a fascinating evolving platform and I’m looking forward to continuing to track it.

p.s. I organised Adelaide’s first Foursquare swarm in August last year.  I don’t know of too many others   since – though recently we achieved another one during the Foo Fighters concert. The magic of Grohl …

4 thoughts on “The great and the scary things about Foursquare

  1. I am simply too enamoured of 4sq’s positives – love the hints that people leave, and have discovered some great haunts based on people’s recommendations. The major downside are some of the 4sq ‘teases’ that some businesses out in place. Had a recent experience of being promised a $10 voucher for checking in to a major shopping centre, when in reality it was simply a ploy to get me to sign up to a loyalty program. Talk about a first world problem!

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