We’ll explain what the title of this article means but first we wanted to make sure everyone knows the topic of this article is about the location-based / social media service Foursquare. There are over 10 Million Foursquare users, however if you are not one of them and don’t have any interest in starting you may want to skip this article.
According to their website, Foursquare is a a location-based mobile platform that makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore. Users “check in” various locations by using their cell phone to earn badges and points. A user’s check ins are shared with friends directly in Foursquare or through the user’s Facebook / Tweeter account. Check in to one location more then anyone else and you become “The Mayor” of that location.
In our opinion, Foursquare IS AN ADDICTING WASTE OF TIME. In a world where everyone is concerned about privacy, it is ironic a service that is based on telling others where you are has over 10 million users. While there are some businesses that give discounts to those that have checked in, a majority of everything done in Foursquare gives no real world reward in any way, shape or form. Even with that said, we’ve found earning badges and becoming the mayor of various locations to be kind of addicting.
After a four day weekend stuck at home with the kids we’ve discovered quite a few little tips and tricks. Some of these tips are well published while others were discovered through our own little experiments. A big disclaimer here that the following is based on our own little unofficial experiments and research and may not be 100% accurate.
When you “check in” you are generally presented with a list of nearby locations. The initial list is generated based on cell phone tower information and is quickly updated when your phone’s GPS kicks in. Once the GPS pinpoints your location you can’t check in to a location more then .25 miles away (in our experiments). However if you intentionally turn your GPS off or use Foursquare indoors where your GPS doesn’t connect you can connect with locations .6 miles away. Again your mileage may vary.
You can check in to a location as often as you like. Online documentation indicates only one check in a day will count towards badges, mayorships and what not. We’ve found if you spread the check ins at the same location out a little bit and check in different locations in between you can indeed check in to the same location more then once a day. We’ve even checked into one location in the morning and come back later that afternoon to check in again – earning the mayorship on our 2nd check in of the day.
The mayorship is based on the number of times you’ve checked into a location during the past 60 days. While we’ve never become mayor of a location on the first check in, we have had the luck of becoming mayor on the second at a specific location. Once a user becomes the mayor, he/she will stay the mayor until another user checks in more times then the current mayor has over the past 60 days. If you lose your mayorship it will take a minimum of two days to get it back. The first day’s check in will only catch you up to the current mayor while the second day’s check in will actually put you back in the lead again.
You have to have a profile picture to be eligible for a mayorship. It also seems to help if you share your check ins with friends and “shout out” comments when you check in.
Anymore then 5 check ins within 20 minutes seems to prevent you from earning any more points for an hour. This varied a little in testing however.
The checking in once a day rule didn’t seem to apply to a specific hour of day. In one example we checked in a location at 11pm, checked into several other locations and then came back for a check in at a little past 12am. While we did receive a check in point for the 2nd check in we did not get the mayorship promised “1 day away” during the first check in.
You can check in to locations online (goto mobile.foursquare.com) however they won’t earn you the actual mayorship. This doesn’t mean if you really want the mayorship somewhere that you can’t check in online everyday for a month and then physically drive by the location 1 time to check in. The end result will show you with 31 check ins even though you’ve only physically been there one time.
There are over 250 different badges you can get. Some badges have been retired and are no longer available. Here is a complete list: http://www.4squarebadges.com/foursquare-badge-list/
Some badges are not location specific but “shout out” specific. For example check in to any location and shout out “I just gave a red cross donation” and you’ll instantly receive the Red Cross Donation badge. Shout out “happy birthday” in five different check ins and receive the 16 candles badge. Shout out “I’m on a boat” and you’ll get the I’m on a boat badge.
The list of tips and tricks can go on and on. One guy even figured out the coding used during a check in and was able to check into various landmarks around the world from his living room. He even became the mayor of the north pole.
As we mentioned earlier, Foursquare is an addicting waste of time. But if you’re interested hit us up and we’ll be your friend!