I would like this to be a two-parter, so stay turned, I will need your help with a little experiment!

Launched at SXSW 2009, Foursquare is a location service/review tool/social network/game all rolled into one.

How it works:

You check in from any restaurant, bar, club or event you happen to be gracing your presence with. You can include a message about your location and what you happen to be up to while there. Your Foursquare friends get this message from you and they can join, congratulate, envy or pity you, depending on the circumstances.

You can also use Foursquare to change your fate and save yourself from having a miserable time. You can use the tool to check and see where your friends are at and if they are faring any better, and move on to greener pastures.

Foursquare also allows you to create a list of places you want to go and add a Top 12 list of recommendations for others to review.

How to play the game:

You get one point for actually checking in; five points if you check in from a location you have never checked in from before; additional points for checking in from multiple locations in one evening and for checking in multiple nights in a row. You get five discovery points up front, but you can only amass points for checking in outside of work hours.

Earning points only pits you against other players and you don’t get anything as a result, but this is the game part. If you check in from the same location more times and more regularly than others, you can be crowned Mayor and other players can try to take that title from you. Badges can also be earned for the number of times you’ve checked into new businesses and you can earn other titles. 

How to sign up:

Click here. You will need to set up a profile, add a photo and your cell number. The service/game is completely free. From there you add friends and start to play.

Foursquare is city-specific, so there are different networks for a number of different locations: Amsterdam, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas / Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis / St. Paul, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, DC and London. There are Foursquare apps for Android, iPhone, Blackberry and the Palm Pre.

My take on this? I think Foursquare is going to be yet another important social media tool in the integrated communications arsenal for many businesses. The Foursquare owners have in their possession valuable consumer data for establishments in cities all over the world. Those launching new bars, restaurants, hotels and other hot spots will clamor to be on Foursquare and get that buzz. I think eventually it will be expected that any establishment opening up will need to be on Foursquare. 

So this is where I need some help…

I am a working professional/mother of two. My days of hitting the hotspots were soooo six years ago. I would love to use Foursquare myself and then provide my thoughts as a follow-up to this, but I just don’t make it to enough hip and happening places to give you a good idea of what I think. I would love for anyone reading this and using Foursquare to comment on what they think and their experience with it. And hopefully I will have enough feedback to write a follow up shortly.

Thanks so much!

FlackChick

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