If foursquare is just a game why do so many use it (over 25 million worldwide)? The benefits to users from brands and businesses seem to be greater in North America where check-ins do bring actual rewards such as discounts and freebies only available when checking-in. In Europe it seems trusted tips and ideas for exploring an area are the main value, whether it's a city you know well or when away from home.
Others say they use foursquare as a social diary to be able to look back and see where they were on a certain day or to help when doing their expenses to check receipts against certain dates.
The benefits for brands on foursquare makes sense as, "The typical Foursquare user is one of the most desirable demographics, they tend to be young, college educated and employed. They are heavy users of online social media platforms and are actively engaging friends and acquaintances with the businesses they're interacting with."
Letting Others Find You
Telling the friends you're meeting that you've arrived at the bar seems like a fine idea but you can't limit the circle of friends who you share a check-in with so your whole network of 'friends' will see where you are.
Being all about the "I'm here right now" foursquare feels the most 'useful' social network to stalkers. USA Today pointed out why geolocation apps can be dangerous and gave some good advice including: Only enable geolocation when the benefits outweigh the risks, and understand that others can track your current and past locations.
Talking about the site PleaseRobMe, this article pointed out, "Ultimately, the success of location-based networks will be limited if they can't find ways to make users feel safe when using these services."
But many retorted that posting anything about your location on any social network could be fodder for those with bad intentions. A tweet with a geotagged photo of you on the beach makes it abundantly clear you're not at home too so foursquare isn't the only way to display your location.
Most of the negatives of geotagging seemed to revolve around possible burglary while away from home and stalkers are infrequently mentioned on danger lists but I suspect that's because most technology writers are men.
Say you check-in at the same Starbucks every day at 9am, and they even 'kindly' shout your name out in store when your coffee is ready, it makes it just that bit easier to gain some unwanted attention from someone with stalking tendencies. If you check-in at the office at 9.30am each day it wouldn't take a genius to work out your route between the coffee shop and your workplace.
Some have suggested checking-in as you leave a location, which does seem like good advice, but you still need to be aware if you have a pattern of places you visit regularly.
And for those fools who check-in at their own home I doubt there is much that can be said about common sense actually being common anymore.
This journalist thinks the check-ins are useful for news stories for finding someone at a precise location but unless you're planning on being contacted following an incident that you accidently witness then there's no benefit to you, is there?
So am I being too cynical or can you see a reason to use foursquare? I can keep a private diary to record where I've been each day (if my memory really can't keep up with such difficult things as where I've actually been), and I don't see the value in Mayorships but am I missing the point of it and it's just a game?