Foursquare – much like Gowalla – is a geolocation app for your phone, which means it uses your geographical location to work. Foursquare can tell you what’s all around you and can let you share what you’re doing with your friends. If you’re a Twitter user, you’ve probably seen an increasing amount of Foursquare tweets in your stream as of late.
Geolocation apps are becoming a popular trend fast, especially as businesses learn how to use them for their benefit. Being that Foursquare is one of the most popular geolocation games in town, allow me to share with you everything you can do with this app.
Where Do I Get Foursquare?
First thing’s first, let me briefly cover where you can get this app. You can use Foursquare on any phone. If you have an Android, Blackberry, or Palm you’re in luck, because Foursquare has supported apps for those phones., or one with
Don’t have a fancy phone? That’s alright, because you can simply go to the mobile site to use it with your phone’s web browser. If you have a phone that doesn’t have a web browser, you can check in by sending messages to 50500 (only available in the US).
Checking In With Foursquare
The main idea behind Foursquare is to check into the places you visit (e.g. restaurants, bars). You access the app on your phone (by one of the many ways I’ve discussed) and check into the venue you’re at (e.g. Cafe 210, State College).
Upon checking in, you will receive points and (eventually) badges – like being the Mayor of a Foursquare location. These ‘accomplishments’ will be added to your profile for all to see. Add friends (Gmail, Twitter, Facebook) to compete against. Once you’ve added a friend, you can then see all of their check ins and total points accumulated.
How To Become The Mayor of Foursquare
If you’ve been to a place more than anyone else, Foursquare will crown you “The Mayor” of that Foursquare spot. According to their website, they calculate ‘mayorships’ based on the most days with check ins in the past 60 days (so 2 check ins to the same place in one day just count 1 time).
If someone else comes along who has checked in more days than you, they will steal the “Mayor” title from you. A lot of bars and cafes now offer “Mayor Specials”, which is usually something like a free coffee or appetizer, or a discount of some kind. Some places offer specials to everyone who checks in. Watch for the yellow “Special Nearby” icon in your app.
[Note]: If you want to become mayor of Foursquare, you will need to have uploaded a profile photo.
I Can’t Find My Venue. Now What?
If the venue you’re looking for isn’t there, don’t sweat it. Foursquare gives you the ability to add venues. You can do this from your phone or the website. All you have to do is click on Add venue and add the necessary information.
Just type in the name of the venue, along with its address and phone number (if you know it), and you’re all set. Foursquare will add the location to their database, along with a Google map and all of the information you provided. It’s a great way to get local venues discovered!
While entering information, you can also pick the category of the venue (e.g. Bar, Wings) and add tags and tips.
Wait, What Are Tips?
Ah, yes. Foursquare lets you leave tips for your friends to discover when they check into places. You can leave tips to let people know about your favorite experiences (e.g. favorite foods, things to try) or anything you like.
You can add tips to your To Dos list on your profile. Once you’ve completed an action, it will be added to your activity stream. Tips are currently tied to places, so you will need to type in the name of a place in order to leave a tip.
Still Don’t Know What Foursquare Is?
Check out this video for a visual recap of everything I’ve just covered:
Foursquare can be a lot of fun once you get into it. It’s a good way to compete with your friends and it helps you get out more. As more and more businesses get on board, I’m sure we will be seeing some interesting and creative ways to use such geolocation apps. Since Foursquare is one of the more popular apps out there, it will be particularly interesting to see where it is headed.
If you still have any questions about Foursquare that I did not address, you should check out their in-depth FAQ page.
Do you use Foursquare or any other geolocation apps? Where do you see this technology headed? What have you become the Mayor of? Please leave your thoughts, ideas, and comments below!