Robert Beerworth Team : Web Strategy Tags : Twitter

My first impressions of Foursquare

Robert Beerworth Team : Web Strategy Tags : Twitter

I downloaded Foursquare to my iPhone a month or so ago. I sort of knew what it was, though it is usually through using these things that you gain a fuller appreciation of what they are and how they work.

While the geo-mapping functionality makes sense – plotting your location so that friends and colleagues can see where you are, and you where they are – the underlying badges, points and game doesn’t immediately make much sense. Indeed, for the first three weeks, I checked into places merely to accrue points without understanding what those points contributed to.

Indeed, I believed that the entire reason for accruing points was to become the virtual Mayor of certain places, a title and position that also did not make entire sense to me.

A key weakness of Foursquare in Australia is the sheer lack of participants. It would be great in a city like New York, watching as your friends check-in to bars and cafes around you – you’d be drinking coffee and beer all day. In Australia however, check-ins are few and far between, and Foursquare is unreliable as a tool for mapping your friend’s locations. Perhaps if it auto-updated based on your location it might work, though that opens the privacy issue et al.

Anyway, last week, having accrued plenty of points and checked into some places dozens of times, I still hadn’t gained the elusive Mayor title. I visited the Foursquare website and found a small tidbit relating to Mayorage… without a profile picture, a user cannot become the Mayor.

Add a profile picture and as long as you have checked in to the location more than anyone else, you’re entitled to be the mayor. It doesn’t matter how many badges or points you have.

So, I added my profile picture and automatically, I am the mayor of two places – including the children’s park down the road.

I guess I’ll continue to check-in to Foursquare if only to maintain my virtual Mayor status. I can’t see any other benefit at this point, though no doubt if Foursquare is more widely adopted in Australia, being the Mayor of so many places might benefit me as I trawl the city looking for friends sitting in cafes and bars.