4 squared?

26 Feb

Foursquare has been the subject of many tweets on Twitter lately and the subject of many morning show clips.  Just what is foursquare?  And most importantly, what’s in it for me?

I noticed about a week ago I started seeing tweets from people who I follow-on Twitter mentioning the site foursquare.com.  These people were unlocking different badges and becoming the ‘mayor’ of different businesses.

So, what is it?  Foursquare is a mobile app that tells your friends where you are.  Users get badges by visiting different places in town and checking-in to foursquare.  Let’s say you frequent your local Starbucks, you could potentially become the mayor of Starbucks and gain a badge if you check-in from there a lot.

Also, some businesses are offering free perks to their mayors.  I saw where one business was giving away free coffee and a free muffin to their mayor.  It seems that foursquare is a great way for businesses to connect with their customers, but foursquare has a dark side.

This morning on the CBS Morning Show I watched a segment which highlighted a newly launched site, PleaseRobMe.com.  On the home page you can view a real-time stream of updates which lists what one can assume are empty homes.  A typical foursquare post says something like: ‘Just left the house and checked in at Vinny’s Pizza.  It’s the best in town!’  One might assume after reading your message that your house is empty and a good target for burglary.

In addition, if someone wanted to stalk you it is much easier when you are giving them real-time updates telling people your exact location throughout the day.  The  moderators of Please Rob Me insist that their intention has never been to promote robberies, but it is their intention to inform people about the dangers of posting realtime information regarding your whereabouts.

I signed up for a foursquare account and after navigating the site for 30 minutes I don’t think I will use foursquare in the future for anything.  It hasn’t gotten too popular where I live and none of my friends use the program.  I don’t see much benefit telling people where I am all the time.  I love my friends, but sometimes I just want to be left alone!

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2 Responses to “4 squared?”

  1. kelseyeh April 16, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    Martine, it’s too funny that you wrote this post. About three weeks ago, I purchased an iPhone and have been trying out various apps. I know that our professor is a fan of Foursquare so I tried it out. I know that one part of the “app” let’s you select friends. I only could find about three people that I knew that even used “Foursquare” and none even live in the city that I live in. I still am not sure if that is important or not. I find the app easy to navigate however I still do not understand the perks of becoming mayor or earning badges. I think it’s sort of embarrassing informing my Twitter followers (most of whom are PR professionals that I’ve eaten at Taco Mac 4 times this week).
    I also have heard about the website “Please Rob Me” and I think it is scary and seems reasonable to me that if you are updating your status to “out of the house” that someone could easily break in. Any of the “geo based” services like that make me nervous because they ask to use your current location and then make it public. I prefer privacy as well!

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  1. PRCA 3030: Blog Comments « - April 16, 2010

    […] #7. 4 squared? by: Martine Howell April 16th, 2010 […]

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