Foursquare: Fun, Friends and Deals!

by on May 9, 2011 · 19 comments

Have you ever wanted to be a mayor? Wouldn’t it be great to be a mayor and not have to run in an election, but reap the benefits? Would you like primo reserved parking spots? Free meals at your local restaurants? Free drinks at your local pub? Then check out Foursquare!

How It Works

Foursquare is a location-based app that is available on iPhone, Android, Nokia, Blackberry, Palm and Windows phones. A mobile site is available for other model phones. After you download the app and sign up for an account, you can “check in” to local businesses such as stores, restaurants and museums. That’s where the fun begins.

After you set up your account, head to a place with a lot of stores, such as a shopping center or retail section of a city. Open the app and press OK when it asks to use your Current Location (see Apps: To Push or Not to Push?). A list of stores in your vicinity will appear. You can check in to your favorites to earn badges and get special offers. Some businesses will offer deals to Newbies, such as 10% off your purchase. Your check ins only count once a day and you can only check in to a limited number of places at one time, so be mindful of where you check in.

Foursquare is available internationally as well as in the US. Many countries are currently covered by Foursquare and its coverage is expanding rapidly.

Mayor

If you check in to a spot more frequently than anyone else over 60 days, you can become Mayor. You also need to have a photo on your account, but the photo doesn’t have to be of your face. Your photo could be of your dog, a tree or Mayor McCheese.

Earning this esteemed title may entitle you to a premium reward such as discounts and reserved seating and parking spots. Some restaurants offer their Mayors free food or drink during their entire reign as Mayor. One of our local restaurants offers a $25 gift card every Sunday to its Foursquare Mayor. In other words, it can be a big deal to be Mayor so if you have a favorite spot you visit frequently, see if they participate in Foursquare and start checking in every time you visit.

Your quest for Mayor may not be easy though. The competition for the position at popular Foursquare locations may be intense. For example, if you are trying to become Mayor of City Hall in New York, you will have plenty of competition, including Mayor Bloomberg who is a big fan of Foursquare.

Badges

As you continue checking in, you can earn various badges along the way:

*

 

These badges may bring special discounts or may just end up being a source of pride.  There are those who really enjoy the thrill of earning the badges along the way and collect as many as they can.

Yummy! Foursquare Badge Cookies *

Special Deals

If you check under Places, you can see what special deals are being offered for checking in. A local ice cream store near me offers a 10% discount just for checking in. A gas station offers a five cent discount per gallon for checking in, if you purchase a drink. Our local Radio Shack is offering 20% off for checking in for the first time and 20% off for its Mayor.

Tips

Another great way to use Foursquare is for Tips. Are you visiting a restaurant? Check out the Foursquare Tips for recommendations on special dishes.  We visited a local restaurant and were guided to a delicious Chicken Marsala dish thanks to a helpful Foursquare Tip. Other Tips can offer advice on where to park and where to find the best prices on products. Make sure you leave some Tips for other Foursquare users to pay it forward!

Social

Foursquare lets you connect with friends through Facebook, Twitter, email addresses or cell phone numbers. If you add friends, you can send out notices through Foursquare to meet you at a certain place or to just let them know that you are nearby. Foursquare is a handy way to get together with your best buddies, but you can also disable this feature if you want to grab a quiet cup of coffee on your own.

Battery Life

Because Foursquare needs to use your Location Services to work, you need to enable this feature. But using Location Services can drain your battery so make sure to close the app if you are not using it. (See, Tech-Knowledgy: Facebook Etiquette, App Advice and More! for information on how to close apps.)

Privacy

If you are concerned about your privacy, there are ways to protect your information on Foursquare. First, you don’t have to use your full name. You can use just your first name or a user name. I am not using my real name, but that’s unintentional, I’m just a horrible typist on the iPhone keypad.

Other ways of protecting your privacy include using a picture of something other than your beautiful face and not connecting with friends. But if you don’t connect with your friends, you may be missing out on the opportunity to meet up with your best friend Murph who happens to be at the mall the same time you are!

Also consider that the information you provide to retailers through Foursquare is much less than if you use discount cards at grocery stores, pharmacies, etc. which track all of your purchases.

Bottom Line

Foursquare offers discounts, rewards, tips, socialization, badges and fun. If any or all of these sound good to you, download the Foursquare app and give it a try!

* Images by Dennis Crowley

 

Comments on this entry are closed.

Alexia May 9, 2011 at 8:32 am

I’d never heard of foursquare. Sounds interesting. I’m signing up!

Carolyn Nicander Mohr May 9, 2011 at 8:36 am

Hi Alexia, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! You will have a lot of fun checking in at your favorite spots. Let us know when you become a Foursquare Mayor!

Ollie May 9, 2011 at 9:17 am

Sorry if this is off topic – How do you add a picture to your profile?

Btw, I had never heard of Foursquare either. I plan to sign up.

My pic will be the Mayor of Munchkin Land!

Carolyn Nicander Mohr May 9, 2011 at 9:33 am

Hi Ollie, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Great question! To add your picture, go to foursquare.com and log in to your account. Go into Account Info and upload a picture. From that page you have a lot of other setting choices as well. Take some time to review all of your choices to make the most out of your Foursquare experience!

Have a lot of fun in Munchkin Land. I wonder what the reward is there for being mayor? Maybe a hot air balloon ride to Kansas?

Samantha May 9, 2011 at 12:23 pm

When you say “upload a picture”, does that picture have to be on your device, or can you upload one from the web?

Carolyn Nicander Mohr May 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Hi Samantha, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Good question, I’m sorry I wasn’t clear in my response to Ollie. When you go to Upload Photo on Foursquare, you will see a button that says Browse. Click on that and it should take you to the Pictures section of your computer. (If it doesn’t, choose Libraries => Pictures). You can choose any picture from your computer to add to your Profile on Foursquare by clicking on the picture and then clicking the Open button at the bottom of your Pictures screen. That will take you back to the Foursquare screen and your picture should appear on your Profile. Click the Save button and you’re done!

Now you’re on your way to becoming Mayor of your favorite spot. :-)

Jens P. Berget
Twitter:
May 16, 2011 at 12:43 am

Hi Carolyn,

I have given fourquare a lot of thought, the same with GoWalla and Facebook Places, and I’m still not using any of them. The reason is that I don’t want to be sharing with other people where I am at (I guess it’s ok once in a while). Well, I don’t have a problem with sharing it, but I don’t quite understand why I should share this information? :-)

I understand the fun and entertainment part, and finally I understand the business part of it (I was recently in Sweden and saw a sign that said that I would get an offer from the store if I signed in using Facebook Places).

I still need more time before I sign up for Foursquare :-)
Jens P. Berget recently published this awesome post..What I think about when I think about travelingMy Profile

tracey August 31, 2011 at 5:56 am

I hope foursquare start giving us some discount in our local area. Being out of the US this application is not of use but once it start hitting our shore I think everyone will be thrilled to use this.
tracey recently published this awesome post..Top Free Dating SitesMy Profile

Carolyn Nicander Mohr August 31, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Hi Tracey, Yes, I hope Foursquare comes to your area. Foursquare is available outside the US. You may want to spread the word to your local merchants about this free marketing tool!
Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Google Maps Traffic – The Answer to Your Traffic NightmaresMy Profile

Carolyn Nicander Mohr August 31, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Hi George, Yes, the badges are really cool, as are the discounts given by local stores. I hope you enjoy Foursquare, George!
Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Shhh…My Favorite Secret App!My Profile

alynaZ September 10, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Hi I have tried installing foursquare at my phone but its not working. Does it required something or it is necessary to be android phone to have it? I really want to use this.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr September 10, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Hi alynaZ, Foursquare is also available on the iPhone. What type of phone do you have?
Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Shhh…My Favorite Secret App!My Profile

Carolyn Nicander Mohr September 25, 2011 at 10:02 am

Hi inoue, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! I agree, Foursquare is awesome!

Dawn October 3, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Hello Carolyn, Thanks for this idea i gonna follow this right now…

Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 4, 2011 at 7:58 am

Hi Dawn, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech. I hope you enjoy Foursquare. :-)

Madonah October 17, 2011 at 4:22 am

Hi Carolyn, It was nice to be here, i learn about your concept, Thanks for taking your time to discuss it and sharing your knowledge.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 17, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Thanks for your visit, Madonah! Im glad you enjoyed the post. :-)

Ananta November 10, 2011 at 5:42 am

Hello. I wanted to give you a note to verbalize my thankfulness. I have been watching your blog posts for a month and have got a ton of excellent tips and appreciated the way you have built your web site. I’m going to make my blog however I feel it is too general and I need to concentrate more on particular issues.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 10, 2011 at 10:08 am

Good luck with your new blog, Ananta!

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