The Newbie’s Guide to Foursquare

foursquareAbout a month ago, I decided to join Foursquare. I didn’t have much experience with geosocial platforms, and I didn’t know how I would feel about sharing my location throughout the day. Four weeks, eight badges and 55 check-ins later, it’s safe to say I’m officially a fan.

Foursquare is—simply put—fun! Users check in to locations and events, and are rewarded with points and badges for doing so. You can stay updated on where your friends are eating out, discover sweet discounts and deals at businesses and read great tips about the places you visit.

Here are a few tricks to keep in mind when starting up on Foursquare.

  1. Mundane is exciting. You go more places in a day than you think! As a warm-up, try checking in at a place you visit every day, like your workplace or favorite coffee shop.
  2. You don’t have to share everything with everybody. Foursquare has a great feature called “off the grid,” where users can check in without sharing their whereabouts. Embarrassed by your addiction to donuts? Don’t want your friends to know about your fifth shopping spree this week? It can be you and Foursquare’s little secret.
  3. Need…more…badges. Foursquare rewards check-ins with badges, but it’s very secretive about how to earn them. Many companies, brands and events offer specific badges. Adding variety to where you check in—in addition to your daily routine—will help you capture some of these.
  4. Keep your eyes open for deals. Sometimes when you check in places, Foursquare will tell you about a nearby special. Pay attention to these; you can receive some neat discounts and deals.
  5. Friends are fun. It’s cool to see what your friends, family and fellow Foursquare users are up to. Follow them and stay in the loop about their activities.
  6. Hello, Mayor [insert your name here]. A mayor is the user with the most number of check-ins at a specific place. The spiffy crown says it all.
  7. Tips are appreciated. You can leave tips for other users at any place you check in. Leave notes for your favorite dishes, best exercise classes or happy hour specials.
  8. Pretty much every where is on Foursquare. Your bus stop? That gas station? Seasonal events? They’re probably on Foursquare already. If not, put them on there!

What do you think? Will you be joining anytime soon? If you’ve already been using Foursquare, what other tips would you offer to newbies?

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