What is foursquare?
Foursquare is a location based service available on many mobile devices (via the web or as an app on Android, Iphone/Ipod, and Blackberry). It allows you to communicate your location using your phones internal GPS, and allows you to see where others have checked in. This is invaluable for finding new things to do, and for reading tips about things NOT to do.
Not only could I find local things to do (based on a large number of people checking in at certain places), but I was also able to checkin myself, and therefore will have a personal history of all of the places I’ve been.
In addition to Foursquare, there are other location based services that offer different incentives, and more or less community (such as Gowalla).
Is it safe?
- Use an alias and don’t tie to your Twitter or Facebook – unless you are using the same alias there as well, or you set that information to private.
- Don’t checkin. Not very fun, but still allows you to see local locations.
- Use “off the grid” frequently. This allows you to checkin and still earn badges, but doesn’t display your whereabouts.
- Checkin when you leave a location.
- Don’t use your real picture as your avatar.
- Use an alias email address (which will make it difficult for anyone to find you, even those you want to find you).
Use common sense!
- Don’t checkin at home. Or your friends home. Or your grandparents house. Etc.
- Don’t add “friends” if you don’t really, personally, physically know them.Only add people as friends that you actually know. Anyone will see that you checked in, but they cannot see your history, or much else about you. There are also numerous other privacy options that will allow you to hide practically anything about yourself to someone who is not your friend.
How can I use it….
- In women’s ministry? : If you are having an event, offer an incentive for people to checkin at your event (be sure to tell them to leave tips!). If others are looking at Foursquare (or Twitter/Facebook if the checkin is shared), they will become interested in what you are doing. If nothing else, it is one more avenue to share information about your ministry.
- In youth ministry? : Conduct a scavenger hunt of sorts. Have your youth check-in at various places in your city over the course of a month. Of course, tie something along with the checking in, but make it fun! E.G. Checkin at volunteer places, checkin at different locations at a conference, etc. Make sure your youth are aware of the dangers, or allow checkins only from a chaperone.
- In homeschool/ with family? : Without even checking in, you can find various brands on Foursquare that will allow you to see places they think you should checkin. Why is this valuable? You can plan a trip using the brand’s locations, or find new things close to your city. Visit some great museums and combine what you are learning with your history curriculum.
So why should you use it? Well, it is a really cute name, don’t ya think?