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four square badgesOne of the hottest trends in social media right now is geo-tagging, and foursquare is emerging as the leader of the pack.  Foursquare describes its service as a way to “unlock your world and find happiness around the corner.”

As of June 2010, 2 million people agree and have been checking-in over a million times each week since February.  But what is a “check-in” and why has foursquare become the latest social media darling?

The basic premise of foursquare is utilizing an app on your smart phone (or via mobile text for those without internet access on their phones) to record your visits to places such as restaurants, museums, concerts and local businesses. Check-ins earn you badges (think back to your days of girls scouts) based on the frequency that you check-in.  Some businesses are offering rewards to their loyal customers on foursquare, like Starbucks who offers a $1 frappacino to anyone who has achieved “mayor” status for any of their stores across the country.

Foursquare is also in the midst of adding features such as local news and activities with partners such as the Wall Street Journal and Bravo, who created a tour of sorts for fans to visit places where their favorite shows have filmed.

Foursquare offers other features such as tips & reviews for local businesses and coupons exclusive to foursquare users, but foursquare was developed predominately for social purposes.  People are using in it many ways that range from business reviews, competition for badges, creating a record of vacation activities, or simply finding out if any of your friends are close by.

The application is designed to integrate with both Facebook and Twitter, and as part of your sign up you are offered the option to connect with friends on both sites, as well as broadcast your check-ins.

Sound good to you? Ready to sign up? Before you do, keep a couple things in mind.

The vast majority of check-ins are around bars, restaurants and entertainment venues indicating that it’s a fad of the younger set. Though gaining momentum every day, foursquare’s 2 million users don’t compare to the diversity found in Facebook’s 500 million users, so it may be a while until you find your friends there.

Beyond that, many users in a recent survey from Webroot reported concerns about privacy, including worries about giving burglars information about when they are away from home. As all the action takes place through mobile phones, many users also worry if their information is actually secure.

If you’re willing to take the risks, you no longer have to wonder around an unfamiliar place looking for a good restaurant and could pick up some interesting tips to impress your friends.  But what do you think, will you jump on the bandwagon, or let the hype pass you by?

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2 Comments

  1. I’ve been using foursquare for quite a long while, even got every one of my company’s ~54 venues represented.

    Awareness just launched an awesome search for statistics re: your company’s foursquare presence, called foursquare Perspectives… extremely valuable information, presented in an easy-to-use format… including unique visits, who your main mayors are — http://perspectives.awarenessnetworks.com/foursquare/

    This kind of data can give you a much better idea of how much your customer base is participating, and compare locations for creating possible promotions and deals.

    • Thanks for the feedback Paula! Anyone else out there using the Awareness tool or any other applications for foursquare?


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