I admit it. I use Foursquare. I don’t post my locations to Twitter or Facebook, or offer mundane updates on every step I take throughout the day, but I do use Foursquare and I don’t think it’s as silly as some naysayers would have you believe. However, apps and tools are always in the eye of the beholder and I realize what works for me, doesn’t necessarily work for someone else.
The criticisms of Foursquare are valid. Many Facebook and Twitter users don’t want to see other people’s Foursquare updates in their statuses. In this case, they’ll have to decide whether or not to follow the offending parties. Also, folks who frequently update the world with their locations will have to consider the TMI factor and that many people don’t care that they’re dropping the kids off at KinderCare.
There are also people who are worried about privacy issues. I think Foursquare is pretty good with the controls. We only allow approved friends access and we don’t have to update anywhere but on Foursquare if we don’t want to. Most users are responsible with their information and don’t use school names, homes, or any other details that will give away the exact location.
Just like any other app, if used responsibly it should be fine.
Here are my reasons why Foursquare doesn’t suck.
1. Foursquare Highlights Local Businesses
I appreciate an app that helps local businesses gain new business. Foursquare allows users to see the types of businesses in their area and it’s all mapped out in case directions are needed. If lots of Foursquarers check in to a particular establishment and have good tips and recommendations, I’ll know this is a place to consider visiting.
2. You Never Know Who You’ll Bump Into
Recently I was in New York City for the day and saw on Fourquare that someone from a job I held over ten years ago was at the same event. We said hello and caught up a bit. I ran into a social media buddy at the local department store once, and didn’t even know this person lived sort of close by. If I didn’t see these names on my Foursquare as being in my same location, I wouldn’t have looked for them.
3. See What’s in the Area at a Glance
If you’re a stranger in a strange land you don’t have to eat strange food. Use your Foursquare to see what restaurants are in the area. I know someone who uses it while camping and vacationing to see where to find the laundrymats, supermarkets, parks and chidlren’s attractions. Not everywhere in the area will be listed, but the most popular places are likely on the grid. It can save a lot of web searching from the slow library computers or asking for directions.
4. It’s Kickass for Conferences
My favorite use for Foursquare is for conferences. I use it to learn who is sitting in on what session, where my friends are eating, and which parties to attend – or avoid. In fact, I get the most Foursquare use from conferences as it’s a good way to keep an eye out for the folks I’m looking to meet or catch up with.
5. Who Wouldn’t Want to Be the Mayor of ShopRite?
I mean, really, is that a perk or what? And I didn’t even run for office.