My geeky friends and I have a new addiction, letting everyone know our whereabouts via Foursquare, a geolocation-based game that was built by the creators of Google-acquired Dodgeball. I have to admit, I don’t like the fact that you have to “check in” at various locations and instead I “check out”… letting people know where I’ve been rather than where I currently am. Yet, I find myself joining my Foursquare friends Twitter buddies literally pulling out my phone as soon as I get to (rather leave) the gym, a restaurant, or some other location. I am the “mayor” of the Bikestation at Union Station and the “mayor” of my commuter train. This means no one else on Foursquare has “checked-in” as often as I have at these locations. I had to laugh when someone I didn’t even know sent me a tweet that I “stink” because I stole the mayorship from him at the Bikestation… what can I say… I ride… a LOT.
I’m late to the Foursquare party and I credit my Twitter friends for my latest social networking addiction. But it seems I’m not the only one getting in on the act. Foursquare has tapped into something powerful and Facebook is taking note. The New York Times reports that Facebook is positioning itself to launch its own GPS based service allowing users to share their current location with friends and encouraging developers to build applications that I would imagine will give those of us on Facebook the same incentives as Foursquare. Facebook is slated to announce the news at its F8 developer conference next month in San Francisco.
I will say this, Foursquare has helped my workouts, I know people are looking for me to “check-in” at the gym since I’ve broadcast on 12seconds.tv that I’m back on my weight lifting program. I’ll admit something else, I secretly want to steal the mayorship from whoever is that currently the “major” of my gym and I’m not going to be happy until I grab that title from him.
This is where I must caution anyone getting into the GPS game, pun intended. While you are letting all your friends know your every move you are also letting potential thieves and stalkers know where you are as well. So, have fun using location-based services but please be aware of what you are doing and what you are sharing. By the way, I just check-in at home but I’m really at my favorite restaurant that offers free Wi-Fi typing this blog post… I’ll “check-in” here when I leave.