I need you to join Foursquare. Even if you think it’s a waste of time or “nerdy”, I’m trying to help you avoid being late to the party…again. There are a few key reasons that lead me to believe Foursquare will be huge, at least huge enough for the non-internet person to benefit from. A few of those reason are the huge potential that is location based applications, it’s fun and non-internet people can see why they’d want to join it, and it helps cities work better.
The way Foursquare works is, you go to a venue (bar, restaurant, park, etc.) and check in. Once you’ve checked in Foursquare awards you points and tallies the amount of times that you’ve checked in there. You’ll receive more points at more popular places and if you’re the person who’s checked in at that venue the most you’ll become the mayor. Also, by checking in to multiple venues and checking in often you receive badges for your check ins. The competitive mood of the game works incredibly well for it’s distribution and is quickly addicting.
It’s still clearly a young service and the user interface isn’t very intuitive. The iPhone app works best with location services turned on, which is a drain on battery life. Despite this I’m enjoying it so far and see a lot of potential for finding friends when they’re nearby.
I’m not sure how much I’ll get into the competitive nature of FourSquare, though it does offer some advantages to those of us with non-normal working hours:
You can only earn points at certain times:
* We DON’T give points for normal-work-hour checkins (e.g. Mon -> Fri, 8am -> 4p)
This would make it very easy for me to become Mayor of Carlyle, which I currently am. But I’m going to stop checking in there and hope someone else takes the title (it could be you!).
As with any social network, FourSquare’s usefulness will grow with its user base (at least up to the point where people you want to avoid join the service). I’d especially like to see more people in Portland on it. If you do sign up, find me here.
[Via Julie, who also beat me to Twitter.]