Saturday, January 21, 2012
If You Don't Check In, Where You There?
Foursquare is an application that allows you to "check in" a variety of locations from restaurants to the library to your house, to show your friends where you are at any given time. When you check in, you can offer tips for other visitors and you can earn badges for your visit. I can honestly tell you that the thought of earning the Gym Rat badge pushed me on a few days to go work out. Some companies offer specials or discounts if you check in. They give you free tater tots and they get a little extra publicity when you share with your friends that you are there.
The person that checks into a location the most becomes the "Mayor." Some companies offer special deals if you are Mayor. Starbucks for one, offers a nationwide Mayor discount, which is a pretty good thing.
Like in the childhood game that it is named after, there are Foursquare cheaters that make the game more irritating than fun. In a perfect world, you only "check in" to places that you visit. The physically get out of the car, open the door and walk into the establishment kind of visit. Some people check into locations that are closed or that they have never been to just to try and become Mayor or earn a new badge. It always cracks me up when someone is ousted as Mayor from their own house by someone they have never met.
Some people sit at a stop light and check in to every place on their way down the street. Ridiculous. No one appreciates a cheater. Let me repeat, no one appreciates a cheater.
Foursquare allows anyone to check into any place, however to crack down on the cheaters if by your GPS you are too far away from a location, you won't be awarded any points or badges for that check in.
If a company is truly involved in maintaining their Foursquare page, they can yank a cheater's Mayorship. I had to do just that once. I was monitoring a Foursquare account for a local restaurant and noticed that the Mayor had checked in. I was the only person in the place. That kid got a swift boot out of the game.
The other interesting part of the game is that you are announcing to everyone where you are. If you are one of those people that check into your own house, a potential thief would know you were out shopping 50 miles away and they have the address to your empty house.
Foursquare or any social media can be creepy. Anytime you announce to the world your every move, it allows for weirdos and whack jobs to stalk you. Or for your boss to catch you in a fib.
I personally tend to check in on my way out of a place. Or if I am with a big group, I may check in when I get there. I never check in at work and I never check in at home. I'm not that open with my life.
I don't necessarily want my every move to be tracked.
Some people might, but that is a little too much information for me.