So, basically, for anyone who doesn't know, it works like this:
- You go some place, as we all do from time to time. Unless you're homebound, in which case, really, I don't think Foursquare is probably for you. I suppose you could use it to check into the various rooms of your home. I myself have considered adding my bathroom to my places.
- You open up Foursquare on your mobile device. Did I mention you need a mobile device? I think that should have been obvious, but I suppose I ought not take these things for granted.
- A list of places near you (perhaps including the one you're at) comes up OR you can search for the place you're at OR if it isn't in the list, you can add it.
- You "check in" and the app lets all your friends know that you're there. If you want to broadcast your whereabouts beyond the limits of your approved Foursquare friends, you can also send it to Twitter, Facebook, and BlackBerry Messenger. And possibly other social media sites/apps that I don't use.
- If you go there enough (more than anyone else within, I think, a 7-day period), you become "mayor" of that place, which is quite the thing for your resume or list of personal bragging rights.
- You get badges for various activities and accomplishments, like checking in a certain number of times, or to a given variety of places, or the first time you check into a particular kind of place. These are not physical badges, but virtual badges. However, I must say that if you convert them to embroidery patterns and sew them onto blue felt, they will make fine additions to your Girl Guide sash.
It's a pretty simple process, really. But why bother, right?
There are some benefits to using it:
- Some places have deals for the Mayor. Usually kinda lame stuff, to be honest, but some of them are decent deals, too.
- People can also add Tips for places. For example, once I was at a restaurant and one of the tips said that the service was really slow and another one said that the eggs were really good. I wasn't in a hurry and I like eggs, so I stayed and ordered some. Later, I added a tip saying that the dish I ordered tasted like God made it. I don't know whether blasphemy is allowed on Foursquare. I never checked to see whether my Tip was still there later.
- I've never had that experience of being somewhere and having a person say "Oh my gosh, I'm right near there! Let's totally have lunch and be best friends forever!" but apparently that happens, too. Or something like it. I'm fuzzy on the details of how it all goes down.
- I think this goes without saying, but if you yourself are a stalker, it sure does make the whole thing easier if you can get the object of your psychopathic affections to add you as a friend. That part might be hard, especially if the person you're stalking is the subject of some imagined connection and not someone you actually know. I'm not recommending this. I'm just saying--potential benefit for some.
- I admit it: it's kind of fun. For someone like me, who is honestly kind of an Internet exhibitionist with their personal life, why the heck not just tell everyone where you are, right? Just like with your news about jobs and dating and what you had for lunch, nobody actually cares. I mean, maybe a select few care, but mostly, no--nobody does. So there's not really a reason not to do it.
There are probably other things I should be saying. Oh, like for example, the BlackBerry app is not the most awesome. It's pretty good, except that it never seems to want to update my actual location and instead routinely positions me at the beach where I was when I downloaded it. So as I'm standing inside the theatre, it's telling me that it's a hundred kilometres away, which is kind of annoying. It doesn't always do that, but often enough, it does.
My overall ruling on Foursquare is "En, whatever."
It's not going to change your life, but as long as you make sure you don't add your stalker to your friends list, it's probably not going to ruin it either. If you feel like it, do it. If you don't--well, you're not really missing out on much.
These are the posts, folks.