Happy FourSquare Day!

Apparently 4/16 is unofficially FourSquare Day, a day celebrating the location-based service.  I’ve been playing with both FourSquare and GoWalla since January and have enjoyed it. It’s definitely interesting to see what places that you frequent, then compare it what your friends are doing.  While I’ve enjoyed using FourSquare, there have definitely been a few tips that I would offer to those who are thinking about using the App:

  • Don’t be lazy about new locations. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people create a new venue when one already exists.  The FourSquare App shoulders a lot of the blame, but users should try mixing in a search if they can’t find their venue.  I also wish that services like FourSquare and Gowalla had some kind of location reconciliation, where you could combine similar venues.
  • Don’t check in at work. The whole point of using FourSquare is to gage where you choose to hang out.  Hanging out at work and at home are not the same as hanging out at a place you socialize.  In some ways I think that checking-in at a place you work at is cheating, especially if you work at somewhere that people go to socialize. There’s a certain type of pride in being the person that chooses to go to a place – a shop, a bar or a gym – rather than someone who is forced to be there the most often.
    • In addition, don’t check in at home.  Even if you make it hidden, no one really cares if you’re “off the grid”.
  • Don’t simply befriend everyone. I must concede that in the wrong hands FourSquare is a stalker’s paradise. The degree of control, however is who you befriend.  Where I’m very caviler on Facebook & MySpace, I’m pretty reserved on FourSquare.

Lastly, people joke about the PleaseRobMe web site, which pokes fun at the fact people broadcast when they’re not home. While there is a little validity to that, it’s easy for burglars to figure out whether you’re home.  For many it’s safe to assume that they won’t be home on weekdays between 9-5, and people probably can figure out you’re not home if there are no lights on in your house.  I think the risk of broadcasting not being home is relatively small, especially if you don’t list your address in Facebook.

What are some other tips that you’d have for new FourSquare users?