Ins and Outs of Foursquare

With any aspect of social media most of us are making up the rules as we go along and Foursquare is no different. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Foursquare is a location based social network game. In my opinion it takes a pinch of Facebook, a dash of Twitter and a scoop of GPS. And, let’s be honest here… maybe a little bit of  [insert video game you obsess about here].

Foursquare is based on “checking in” at different locations around town and is available in a long list of cities. When you check in at a location your friends within your network can see where you are. The idea is that you can meet up with each other, discover new places, etc.

The game part of Foursquare comes into play with your check ins. You unlock badges as you check in and this creates even more fun and competition. You get a point for checking in, five points for a first time check in, more points if you’re adding a new venue, and so on. These points add up and eventually earn badges.

Another interesting aspect of Foursquare is how local businesses are using the technology. When you check in at A, you are alerted that B is offering a special or discount. Also, more savvy businesses are offering specials to the “mayor’ of that location.

So what’s the mayor of Foursquare? The mayor is the person that has the most check ins at that particular location. For a new location it takes just two check ins to become the mayor if no one else from Foursquare has discovered it yet.

If you’re ready to jump into Foursquare, go to the Foursquare site and sign up for an account. Download an app to your phone and get going.

Some advice:

  • It’s okay to link your Foursquare account to Twitter and Facebook, but I do recommend limiting those auto updates. No one but your mother cares to see your every move throughout the city pumped into Twitter and Facebook. I turned both of those options off on my account so only Foursquare is effected by my every move.
  • Don’t add just anybody as a friend. I add people that I know in real life or talk to often via social networks. In other words, these are people I feel safe with and don’t mind them knowing where I”m going.
  • If you’re going somewhere and you want the points but don’t necessarily want everyone to know where you are, check in as being “off the grid”.  (Select “off” for the “Tell my friends” option)
  • Include shout outs if there’s some detail about the place you want to share with your friends.
  • Use Foursquare as a networking tool … recently I saw that a certain someone was the mayor of MY Starbucks. I sent him a DM on Twitter and asked him to meet me at MY Starbucks. It was a great way to break the ice and meet someone that I may not have bumped into IRL any other way.

I’m sure other Foursquare users have great tips to add, too, so please do in the comments section below!

♥, @JennaSnacks