Why I Use Foursquare

by Josh Opinion on August 21, 2010

I had a friend ask me why I used Foursquare and why people were interested in knowing where others were all the time. What was the point to it.

My only response in the moment was because it was supposed to foster engagement with small businesses with their customers. A “social gaming application designed to change the way people interact with their physical space.”

But that is false. Small businesses don’t use it on a large enough scale to make it relevant for others to really jump on the wagon and adopt it (in my experience). Likewise, only a small portion of those engaged in social networking use Foursquare.

So my answer essentially at that time was full of s***.

My answer wasn’t good enough for myself, so I considered why I used it. Here is what I was able to think about:

  1. Social networks are my primary point of communication now. Not e-mail. Not phone. I am tapped in continuously and take an active interest in what my friends are doing. I try to join in my friend’s conversations when I feel like it.

    Geo location for me is not about trying to get people to join me if I am out.

    Rather, it helps give me an understanding of friends who have specific interests to mine and helps induce conversations.

    For example, if I checked in to a golf course and someone on my Facebook feed “liked” it, I would know that person is also a golf fan. Or at least has some interest in golf. While no conversation may have taken place it gives me a better grasp of what I have in common with others, simply by their clicking the “Like” button.

    Does this happen every time? No. BUT it does happen often enough to keep me an interest of how friends in other locations interact with where I check in.

  2. I like to support things that I have a good experience with. I make an effort to check in at one particular Chipotle every time I am there not because the burritos are awesome, but the one location has an awesome staff (Chipotle on Westshore for you Tampa natives).On the flip side, I am not a wild advocate of Chipotle. I am not going to go out of my way to write a blog post or a raving review on something like Yelp. Foursquare is a sufficient way for me to give “kudos”. If there is a bad experience, in a place I check into I usually follow up with a tweet or comment on my Facebook update. But that rarely happens.
  3. As geeky as it might sound, I like the badge system. There is no rhyme or reason behind it, I think its awesome when you unlock one unexpectedly.

What about you? What are your reasons? I am more interested if businesses have actually reciprocated their appreciation to you for “checking in” or being the “mayor”.

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