Foursquare is a location based application on mobile devices that allows one to check-in their location where ever they want. It is one of the most famous location-based service and is used by over 40 million people. Foursquare is another type of social networking media that allows people to post their location and share it with their followers. Users follow people and are followed by people in the exact same way that Twitter handles their users. There are many different aspects to foursquare that make it an appealing application. People use foursquare for reasons such as connecting with people, meeting up with friends, finding good places to go to, and gaming. Foursquare uses GPS location software on the application to locate nearby venues according to the users current location to prompt the user to check-in. Users will check-in using the smart-phone application and it will immediately be public to all of the user's followers.
Foursquare was launched to the public in 2009 by co-founders Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai. They began working on the application in 2008 and it was only a year later that foursquare was created. It wasn't untill 2010 that foursquare took off and became a globally used location-based social networking software. There are 160 employees in only three locations making this application happen. The headquarters are located in New York City, there is a office in San Francisco, and a smaller office in London. It is a private company that is funded by Union Square Ventures, O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Spark Capital, and various others.
Foursquare took off and is now the most used location-based social network device and grew a large amount over the last year or so. More and more people are getting involved in the check-in culture of social media and sharing locations online, as various applications have done a lot to maintain solid privacy settings.
Foursquare has many different type of uses, which makes it appealing to users with a wide range of personalities and desires. Some use it as a social networking platform, others use it as a way of finding new places to go that are nearby, similar to applications like Yelp and AroundMe. People seem to enjoy using foursquare over these other applications because it has multiple uses.
- Social Networking
- The social aspect of Foursquare is known to be the biggest use. People use it to connect with random people that are interested in going to similar locations, to meet people that are nearby, to meet up with friends, and to share their experiences. People tend to like building up their follower database whether these people are random or not, which can be creepy within location-based media. Under privacy settings one has the option to make their profile and check-ins public or not and one also has the ability to not allow random people to follow them. As a result of the privacy settings, there are not too many stories of bad incidents, because it is all up to the user as to how much the user shares.
- Surprise Uses
- The Surprise uses of Foursquare include safety and availability. As ironic as it is, people have said to use foursquare as a way of safety, meaning they will check in at their home right before they leave to go out so that people think they are home even though they aren't. Another version of using the application for safety is by checking in at home after being out so that the user's friend will know that the user got home safely.
The idea of Mayorship is to add a gaming aspect to the application. The person that has checked in the most at a single venue, becomes the Mayor of that place. Many people check in at their friend's houses so that they can be mayor of the house, which brings up relates back to the privacy issues.
Once you start checking in at locations, foursquare sends you recommendations for places that you would like. Foursquare allows users to post reviews of restaurants and other locations, which allows people to have a better idea of where they should go. This is the part that is similar to Yelp and AroundMe, foursquare immediately finds venues that other people have checked in at and informs you have where to go and where not to go. You can set a "To-Do List" for saving locations that you would want to go to in the future. You can also add other lists and share it with the nearby community, such as a "good restaurant" list or "study spots" etc. The check-in locations are used for many more things than just sharing locations.
The community of Foursquare spans the whole globe and is growing larger and larger every day. With over 45 billion check-ins and millions more each day, users are finding more and more people on Foursquare to connect with. One of the major uses of Foursquare is connecting with random people, and one can do this by seeing who else has checked-in nearby. That starts the growth of the Foursquare community and will continue to get bigger over time.