Local Resolutions Part 11 of 29
This is the eleventh in a series of 29 ways to help your local community online in 2010. If you missed it, you may wish to read the introductory post.
In this post, I suggest that adding locations in the geolocation app FourSquare is a great way to help others from behind the comfort of your keyboard. This series has included recent posts about following local Amber Alerts on Twitter, becoming a fan of local pages on Facebook, and playing the local arts critic.
I recently got an iPhone, courtesy of my generous employer, Steve at YDOP Internet Marketing.
I started by installing Tweetie 2. Then I installed four geolocation apps:
As some of you know, I’ve been trying to pick the one I’m going to go with. Thanks for your patience during the times I double-posted my location.
I’m pleased to say, though, that I have a winner: FourSquare.
My initial hope was that the guys at MapQuest would solve the problem for me, but it turns out that Josh Babetski was no help: He is updating from both FourSquare and Gowalla just like I was. (Adam Chlan, you haven’t solved my conundrum either.)
Until last week, FourSquare was limited to a short list of major cities in the U.S. and Europe. Here in Lancaster users could fake that they were in either Philadelphia or Baltimore. But all that changed with FourSquare’s announcement that it is no longer limited to specific cities. Before then, that was a strong reason to go with Gowalla instead.
It seems funny to talk of privacy when it comes to geolocation apps (which are all about telling the world where in the world you are), but still I feel more comfortable with FourSquare. When I’m near a location, I can see its “mayor” (the person who has been there most often in the past sixty days, and at least on two different days) and anyone who is currently checked in there. That’s it. With Gowalla, I can browse through the profiles of everyone who’s been there over the past couple of months. Also, with FourSquare, I can still check in somewhere without letting even my FourSquare connections know where I am.
There are other reasons I favor FourSquare, but I’ll let you chime in and tell me why you agree or disagree with my choice.
Why a Geolocation app at all?
I have to apologize to those of you who don’t have an iPhone or an Android. Believe me, if it wasn’t for work, I wouldn’t have one yet either.
That said, what I love so much about these apps in general is most of all that it encourages me to get out. By making it a game (where you can collect badges, in addition to becoming mayor), it’s an incentive to leave the house and try new places. It’s also a boost to patronize businesses I’m proud to patronize. Yes, I can go to Waffle House instead of Senorita Burrita, but then I lose out of the opportunity to check in somewhere cool. (I try to keep Waffle House visits a secret.)
Another great benefit of these apps is that it makes the place we live more friendly to visitors. By adding new locations to FourSquare, we map out our city in a way that makes it easy for an outsider to come here, get around, and discover the locations that make Lancaster great.
So, resolution number eleven is this: If you have an iPhone or Android, install the FourSquare app. When you’re out and about, check in at different locations. If the location hasn’t been created yet, add the information. For bonus points, I hope you’ll add me as a friend.
What benefit do you see in geolocation apps like FourSquare? What haven’t I seen about them yet?