I truly apologize for being M.I.A. for so long… but I recently bought an iPhone. Well, it was recent about 6 months ago.
Yes world, I have FINALLY graduated from the ugly dark world of the Blackberry (sorry, not sorry RIM), and I feel like I am a part of the general American public again. I fit in. I belong. Thank God.
Since inauguration day just passed, I decided this would be a great time to bring up what I believe has become an integral part of American culture and will continue to rise in popularity- FourSquare.
My love for FourSquare began with my first semester at NYU this past January. I had experienced people posting “check-ins” on Twitter, which at first really annoyed me, but then made me curious… Where do I go to check-in? Why would I want to check-in places? Why does Kathy think I care that she checked-in at Fat Bob’s 7 days in a row this week? Actually I might be a little concerned for Kathy… Regardless, I had to give the social media site a try.
Eight months later and I am a check-in fiend. I am also the mayor of Allegro Cafe, my house, Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Amherst, and Zonies (a 3AM drunk Buffalo, NY favorite- real proud of that one), among a few random others. What does it mean to be mayor? It means you have successfully checked-in to a certain location more times than any other person in the world. Exciting! WEEEE.
A ton of people have been asking me why I bother with FourSquare and most mention the creepy, people-knowing-where-you-are factor. While business- wise, FourSquare has many benefits, I’ll stick to the lay person reasons to use it this time:
1. It has the potential to open your eyes to places you didn’t even know existed. To be fair, this is much more true in urban areas than suburban ones. When I lived in NYC it was fabulous. One quick FourSquare search and I was able to find every cupcake joint within a 15 mile radius. I honestly couldn’t have survived my 3-month stay in the city without it. Back home in Buffalo, I use it to find gas stations when I’m running low (so, daily) and where the nearest Chipotle is.
OH, but I do work downtown now (NBD), so I plan to take advantage of that feature much more often.
2. It makes you feel like you have a social life. So, this seems sarcastic, and it is. HOWEVER… it is also kind of true. It’s nice to look back and see the stuff you’ve done. More than that, it’s convenient (again for more urban areas) to be able to look back at places you went, incase you forgot what/where they were. This doesn’t happen often in Buffalo, but in NYC I’d go to so many random little cafes or bakeries (duh), that I’d sometimes forget where in the city they were. NEVER FEAR, EMILY. You checked in. Way to go.
3. You can show off to your friends that you have a social life by posting your check-ins to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Google+… No. This was 100% sarcastic. Don’t do this.
4. Sometimes you can pick up a good tip. Like Yelp, and other popular review sites, people are able to “review” locations by leaving a “tip” on them. Every time you check into or search a place, you have the option to read tips or leave one. This can be either useful or stupid. Or entertaining. Or all of those things.
5. Depending on your location, FourSquare will show you the hottest spots around you. Don’t know where to go for dinner? Check the “Top Picks”. How handy! For example, from in my living room, the top five “top picks” are: Walgreens (anticlimactic), Cole’s (popular bar and delicious dining), Anderson’s Frozen Custard (yes.), The Wellington Pub (another popular bar/grill), and Pano’s (a great trendy Greek restaurant in an equally trendy neighborhood). Fab.
IN CONCLUSION, FourSquare isn’t the most amazing social media site to hit the Internet, but it’s pretty useful and it’s pretty cool. Why not?