Foursquare is for Socialites & Frat boys?
I have been an active user of Foursquare, the location-based mobile application, since May 2010. Since then, I have been busy “checking in to” various venues and racking up rewards for checking in called badges, unlocking hidden ones, getting crowned as mayor at venues where I’ve checked in at more than anyone else and then getting ousted when someone beats my record.
Mindful of the “stalker”-like quality to the social media game and having several personal friends who say they refuse to get on Foursquare because that is where they draw the line as far as letting strangers know where you are at any given moment, I’ve been careful to only check into places on my way out. Also, I try to never check in to one venue too regularly. Not that I’m that trusting, I just don’t think there is anyone out there who would want to stalk me. Also, because I use various social media sites and have met so many people in the virtual world who I have never met online, it’s kind of hard to just limit my Foursquare friends to IRL (In Real Life) friends anyway. I dare say, I have more virtual friends than IRL ones at this point. Certainly, on any given day, week or month, I spend more time with people I only know on line than with family and old friends.
Besides, like I noted above, many of my brick & mortar friends don’t trust the tool anyway or see the utility of the online game which now boasts 8 million users.
I do! Beyond just a game, the nearly 3-year old app is also a great tool for posers, you know, those who live the fabulous life or at least want to give off the appearance of living it? With recent upgraded functionality, you are allowed to take photos of the places you check in to and can prove that you are really there and not just faking it. Also, there are added geotracking functions, I hear, that prevent people from checking into places that they are not really at as in the past.
So for a long while, I’d check into all the neat restaurants, bars, clubs, and events with fab venues that I get to frequent while covering as a blogger and journalists various DC events, the political social scene and DC nightlife. In the process, I’ve unlocked a lot of the creme badges, such as:
the Starbucks badge for checking into way too many different Starbucks (5 to be exact)
the Jetsetter badge for checking into 5 different airports
The Bravo Newbie Badge for following Bravo on Foursqure and checking into a few fab spots
and The “Real Housewives” Badge for checking into a spot that one of Bravo’s Real Housewives would frequent, after following Bravo on Foursquare.
A month ago, I got a friend request from a friend of a friend and immediately went to check out who he is and his badges. It is then that I discovered a whole new Foursquare world! This guy had badges I had never seen before and that is probably because they were designed for another set of users; those who are playing a different game and are keeping it real, like by checking into Wal-Mart, their local gas station, at the Pizza spot the guys frequent to watch the Game and the watering hole down the street –in other words, places where the “in-crowd” would never be caught dead in, or at least not broadcasting about to their friends. Another aspect of Foursquare is you can compete amongst your friends for check ins and therefore there are rewards and points for checking into each subway stop on your way home, or becoming the mayor of every 7-11 in your town…I guess.
So NOT what the Bravo set of users would do. Rather, they are too busy piling up badges like:
The “I’m on a Boat” Badge for checking into a venue marked “boat”…
The Steve “Jobs” badge for checking in 3 times at an Apple store as nothing says I am a member of the Technoratti and can afford a $1300 computer that you can get for $400 if you don’t mind settling for a Dell or a PC from Costco, that is…
The “Warhol” badge for checking in to 10 art galleries…
And the “LV Insider” badge for checking into 3 different Louis Vitton stores…
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Foursquare world, there are a bunch of fellers and round-the-way flygirls racking up some Working Class Badges like the:
the 7-10 Split badge for checking into 3 Bowling alleys…
The “Pizzai0lio” badge for checking into 20 different Pizza parlors (that’s a whole lot of pizza right there for the average borderline anorexic to stomach)…
The “Gym Rat” badge because when meatheads aren’t drinking and bowling, they’re lifting a ridiculous amount of weight trying to get their Jersey Shore six-pack on…
The “Ziggys Wagon” badge for checking into three different food trucks, and presumably not just the hot trendy New York city trucks type, but the ones you find outside your job at the construction site.
What an interesting development. So Foursquare isn’t just for posers and socialites after all.
Meanwhile, this woman about town continues to chase down the elusive:
“Douchebag” badge which you get for checking into a hot and trendy spot (most likely in New York City or LA since most of the “top spots” are in major cities.) Conventional wisdom is that FourSquare isn’t calling you a Douchebag for getting the badge, just that if you are likely at a place where you’d unlock this badge, there is probably also mixed in the crowd a metrosexual dude wearing a masculine pink shirt with the collar popped, that is all.
Andy Cohen would be proud!
For a very comprehensive list of active and retired badges, check out Badge Unlock’s Awesome Listing with photos of each badge and clues how to unlock them.