Keeping Up With the Joneses: The Newest Social Networking Brainchild

By BKV in Media Strategy on March 29th, 2010

Now it's not just mom and dad who want to check in and know your whereabouts.   Thanks to a new social networking tool called "Foursquare," friends can trace your every step as well.  C'est la vie to days where you could brush off that annoying friend (we all have one) with an "I'm actually staying in…"  A combination of friend-finder, city guide and competitive bar game, Foursquare lets users "check in" by cell phone at a bar, restaurant or art gallery (or any other places users might frequent) alerting their friends to their current location so they can drop by and say hello. Inventive? Yes. Necessary? The verdict is still out. Regardless, we now have yet another tool that enables us to tell the world, "Here I am, I have arrived," every time we step out the door.  In my opinion, Facebook, Twitter and the host of other social networking sites are sufficient, but if you feel like you need to ‘take it to the next level' (and aren't we always supposed to be striving to accomplish that?), this new tool does so by giving your exact location.   Your friends can now track your every move.  Better yet — if you frequent certain shops enough times, you have a chance to become the mayor of that place entitling you to possible coupons or free items; if you gather enough people to join you more prizes ensue. Another purported bonus is the apparent intimacy of this tool (although I doubt it will remain so now that the New York Times has written about it…)  Foursquare is available only in 31 cities in the United States, including New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston and Washington. The service is also operating in London, Amsterdam and three Canadian cities, but has many fewer members than other networking sites. After reading about FourSquare I couldn't help but wonder if the site will truly take off.  The NY Times article includes a quote from a happy user who notes, "At this point, I don't even bother texting or calling my friends. I just check Foursquare to see if they're nearby and go meet them."  I can't help but think—are we truly this lazy?  But more than that, I find it troubling that we now need ulterior motives to have fun, and enjoy the company of others.  As I noted above, it you frequent the same spot enough, you get points.  If you discover a new hangout, more points. This new tool takes the phrase "the game of life" a little too literally.  I say why can't we just live in the moment, rather than always running off to find the next best place, best friend, and best time?