Foursquare

I first joined Foursquare at some point last autumn, because I remember reading about it somewhere and wanted to have a look myself.

I didn’t initially see much of a point in it, but started using it for the same way I originally starting using Twitter for – helping my bad memory by remembering what I’ve done when and where. For example on Wednesday:

  • 12:41 PM: Reading Station
  • 1:25 PM: Paddington Railway Station
  • 1:47 PM: German Embassy – “*crosses fingers*”
  • 3:22 PM: Sloane Square Station – “Delays on the District line holding up the Circle line!”
  • 3:47 PM: Starbucks – Paddington Central
  • 4:34 PM: Paddington Railway Station – “Heading back to Reading on the 16.36. Yey.”
  • 4:58 PM: Reading Station – “Definitely foursquare’d too much to day, but it helped keeping my annoyance at public transport in check!”
  • 7:34 PM: Glo Reading – “A bit early for the #rdgtweetup. See you soon?”

There have been plenty of other posts about Foursquare, for example this one from @TheSourceress or this one by @JamesBMarshall or this one. James also sums up a lot of the things I dislike about the site itself which is mostly rectified by using the mobile site.

In addition to that there are some other problems I’ve got with the site with the main one being usernames. The site doesn’t use usernames unless connected with a Twitter account so accepting friend requests can be difficult. For example I’ve got a pending friend request from someone called Daniel at the moment. I know many people called Daniel and there is no way I can figure out who he is based on mutual friends.

And then there are the privacy concerns which @PaulCarr has summed up much better than me:

Yet within minutes of the first guests arriving, they were alarmed to discover that all of their privacy efforts were for naught. Their guests – their friends – had used Foursquare to check in at the party, thus instantly adding their address to the service’s growing database of highly specific locations.

From that point on, a simple search on the Foursquare site for the hosts’ name provides their full home address, along with a handy map for anyone who feels like breaking in and murdering them in their sleep. To make matters even worse, as more partygoers checked in – all caught up in the game element of this thing, and hoping to become mayor of someone else’s living room – the information was repeatedly pushed out via Twitter.

I don’t check in at home or at friend’s houses or anywhere I don’t want people to find me. I’m selective on who I accept on there and don’t relay my check in’s to Twitter with some rare exceptions.

Overall it does what I need it for; it tracks my movements and allows me to see if other people are around in town.

You can find me on Foursquare under carocat, but for the above reasons I will only accept requests if I know you.

2 Comments

  1. Posted June 15, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    ugh, people checking in at houses is the one downside of foursquare to me

  2. Posted June 16, 2010 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Yeah, I honestly don’t understand why. I mean yes, I have no problem letting the internet know about the general area I live in, but pinpointing the actual address with a handy Google Maps link just seems wrong to me. It’s just asking for problems.


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