Foursquare – It’s a SM Holiday!

April 16, 2010  |  Social Media for Educators

Let’s face it.  It’s tough for us Boomers to wrap our heads around some of this social media stuff.  We come from an age when our parents scratched their heads over disco music, platform shoes and klackers.  “Kids today!” they used to sigh.  Now it’s our turn.  Are you ready?  All together now… “Kids today!!!”  The latest social networking craze is called “Foursquare”.  What???  Glad you asked… (More…)

Foursquare, oh out-of-the-loop Baby Boomers,  is a game … the object of which is for kids to physically visit places in their community … places like restaurants, stores, you name it… and then use their mobile phone to  “check in”, confirm they’ve visited, and score points.  The object is to score more points than any of your friends or any other Foursquare users, and to do it as quickly as you can.   Oh did I mention the badges?  You earn badges for checking into, let’s say 20 different pizza restaurants as fast as possible… That’s the “Pizzaiolo Badge”.  The “Swarming Badge” is awarded when you check into the same place at the same time lots of other people are checking into that place.  Is this for real?  I’m exhausted just thinking about it.  But I can see that it’s a business owner’s dream.  Checking into a pizza parlour?  Might as well pick up a slice before you leave…

And lo and behold, today is “Foursquare Day” – promoted by the company as the first global “Social Media Holiday”.  Seems thousands of people around the world will be taking part, checking in at venues all over the globe, scoring points and winning badges.

Whatever happened to disco music, platform shoes and klackers?  No points, no badges.  Just some good old fashioned low-tech fun. ;-)

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2 Comments


  1. Kelly – What insight! Sometimes even the most jaded among us (i.e. former news reporters)can be in such a fog they can’t see the big picture… just a piece of it.
    I could barely wrap my brain around he idea that it was all designed to boost the purchase of consumer goods and services — nevermind that the real intent might be to inflate cell phone bills so wildly that the big cell providers would be laughing all the way to the Foursquare bank. You’re right. We don’t need no stinking badges. We just need to have our eyes opened. Thanks for getting the job done. ;-)

  2. Here’s what the developers had to say:

    “Foursquare aims to encourage people to explore their neighborhoods and then reward peoplfor doing so. We do this by combining our friend-finder and social city guide elements with game mechanics – our users earn points, win mayorships and unlock badges for trying new places and revisiting old favorites.”

    Here’s what I really think they should say
    Foursquare is another way to get kids to consume air time which leads to higher bills.

    Foursquare claims its a great way to track customer loyalty and reward customers to tracking the data. Again, who benefits from this? Not the consumer. That free coffee you may get for visiting your local coffee shop 10+ times can translate into higher service pack usage. The big guns have been putting more and more caps on capacity for cell usage and you pay premiums going over. What does this really cost to use? Unlimited data plans aren’t the norm.

    Unfortunately companies have learned many ways to get even more money from kids (or their parents)under the guise of “being in the loop”, on top of the trends, part of the in crowd. We have enslaved them in technology so that now even though we have the best communication devices in history we still look for more ways to remove ourselves from the mainstream. Remember when I recommended a place because it was GOOD? Now a company should get recognition because someone can get an electronic badge for walking through the door. Please. I don’t need no stinking badges.

    Foursquare is another bid to get kids to consume air time. I’m sure in Canada Bell, Rogers and other providers would encourage it.

    Look down Emperor. You’re naked.

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