Foursquare – Making Life Easy for Stalkers!

foursquare logo Over the weekend, I reluctantly downloaded Foursquare for my iPhone. My other half has been talking about it for the best part of a week and telling me repeatedly I should register. Eventually, I caved and registered. Now let me start by reminding you all that I thought Twitter was ‘stupid’ at first, so my first impressions don’t have the best track record. I am now somewhat the Twitter fan! But anyway, I have a habit when I start using something of pointing out everything I don’t like first and then letting it grow on me. Slowly.

So, for anyone who has not yet let Foursquare invade their lives, here’s an overview. It’s pretty much another social networking site, though this time with a difference. It’s location based and designed for mobile Internet usage specifically. Essentially, you register, download the app (available on iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Windows Phone 7 and WebOS) and then you ‘check in’ from wherever you are. ‘Checking in’ from various venues and regularly will see to it that you’re awarded points and potentially could become the ‘Mayor’ of these place. So here are my issues with it…

Stalkers and Burglars

Once upon a time stalkers used to have to pitch up outside your house with a pair of binoculars to see you half undressed. Now they just have to keep an eye on your Facebook because someone at some point will tag a photo of you in an undignified state. By the same token, stalkers once had to physically follow you around skilfully from a safe distance to know where you are going. Thanks to Foursquare, they just need a smart phone now. Seriously, we’re making life really easy for these guys.

On a serious note though, there are potential issues here that many users have raised. If you ‘check in’ from a certain location, you have the option to share this with your Foursquare friends. Now, like I said, this is an ‘option.’ But surely deciding not to defeats the purpose of what Social Media platforms are really for? Of course you can restrict your friend list, but again some people could argue that this defeats the purpose of social media again. I’m not really concerned about my safety using Foursquare. Largely because I’m not aware of any stalkers I’ve acquired! But I can see why people might worry. Like anything though, it’s optional. If you’re concerned about your safety playing it, don’t play it.

Similarly as with stalkers, there are people complaining (through forums and on the app store application page through reviews) that this opens up the doors for burglars to know when you are not at home. Honestly though, if you don’t feel safe, don’t play or don’t open your friend list up to people you don’t know and trust.

There’s no Gameplay

I thought, from listening to my boyfriend talk about it, that becoming the ‘Mayor’ of somewhere would involve some skill. It does not. It just involves opening up an app and clicking ‘check in.’

Too Easy to Cheat

My other half is somewhat upset at the moment that the Mayorship of the building we live in is held by someone who also holds to Mayorship of a whole host of surrounding venues. See, we live in a busy city centre. So from my flat I can log in to dozens of places. It seems this particular player has been doing so and, my boyfriend being overly competitive about things like this, he’s not amused. Personally, I couldn’t care less. Unless ‘Foursquare Mayors’ start being afforded the same powers that the police have, it really won’t affect my life!

So those are my gripes with it. That said, there’s a lot it has going in its favour too and I will follow this post up with another more ‘positive’ one when I’ve fully gotten to grips with it. Maybe! In the meantime, I am considering pitching my suggested tagline to them:-

Foursquare – Making life easy for stalkers since 2009!