Becoming the Mayor of Someone Else’s Apartment

Close-up of a laptop on the tableAs someone who’s been using Foursquare since it was in its ghetto/doesn’t always function/impossible for you to add a new location phase, I’ve found it very entertaining to watch this platform grow.  As it becomes increasingly accessible, more and more people have started to use it (especially since the Blackberry app came onto the scene!).

For me, the defining moment of when Foursquare had become “acceptable” was when my boyfriend started to use it after months of making fun of me for insisting on telling the world where I was.  I never thought that moment would come!  Besides its growing popularity, I’ve also noticed an increase in discussions surrounding its purpose and the proper way to use it.  In fact, TJ wrote a post about her foray into Foursquare just last week.  This is to be expected for any new medium, just as we saw with Twitter before. 

One of the Foursquare “trends” I’ve been noticing recently is the tendency of certain users to habitually check in at a) their home/apartment or b) a subway station or other transportation hub.  To me, this completely goes against the purpose of Foursquare (or at the very least, the reason why I use the service) and only encourages non-believers to keep saying “So? Why do I care where you are?”

I use Foursquare to see the fun places my friends visit, receive tips about great places to eat or drink, keep up to date with what my friends are doing, and maybe even encourage the opportunity to run into people I know when I’m out.  Honestly, checking in at a place of residence or transportation accomplishes none of those things for me.  I severely doubt I’m going to get a great burger at the NRQW station in Brooklyn and I know there’s no chance of me accidentally running into you at your apartment or stealing its mayorship from you.

I’ll admit I’ve been known to check in at Port Authority on my morning commute; but lately I’ve been questioning why and if there’s really any point. You might notice that I didn’t include places of employment in my previous paragraph.  I’ve noticed a lot of people who have made earning the mayorship of their office a competition among co-workers.  I think this utilizes an aspect of Foursquare which often gets overlooked-the game.  It makes it that much more fun when you know the people you’re stealing the mayorship from.  But I’m not exactly itching to be the mayor of my local subway stop.

As Foursquare continues to ink deals with major media and entertainment brands, and dining establishments and nightlife hotspots figure out how to use this service to their advantage marketing-wise, how will peripheral locations such as these fit in?  Am I discounting the voyeurism factor too much?  I’d really love to hear from people who have added their apartment to Foursquare and regularly check in there.  What am I missing?

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