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28 de abril de 2011

6 Tips for Getting the Most out of Foursquare

The Interwebs are buzzing, and by now you’ve probably heard about a social network called Foursquare that’s apparently a big deal. So you cracked open your smartphone (or at least, gingerly removed it from its dock) and downloaded the Foursquare app. After signing up, you scrolled through the tabs and figured out how to “check in” at whatever restaurant, bar, store, or train station you happened to be at. And then you said, “Now what?”
Just like Twitter, at first glance Foursquare may seem a bit inert. To really understand what Foursquare’s voracious user base is so excited about, you’ve got to start using it as more than just a catalog of your GPS-pinpointed whereabouts. Here are six tips for squeezing all the juicy social goodness out of this app that’s sweeping the social media world off its feet:

1. Add Friends… Carefully

Foursquare people image
Using Foursquare by yourself is like playing tennis alone. The fun lasts about three seconds. In geekier terms, it’s like having zero followers and following no people on Twitter. To get value from Foursquare, your friends need to be in on the action, too. Then you can use the app to meet up, share tips, and find stuff to do with when you’re bored, among other things.
The caveat: don’t add people you aren’t really friends with. That’s because Foursquare friends can see your GPS location, so by adopting a Myspace-style friends-with-everyone practice, you’re inviting a host of potential weirdos to meet up with you every time you check in somewhere. As founder Harry Heyman puts it, “Do you really want them to know where you are all the time?”

Foursquare stats image
Unlike Facebook and other social networks, friend count doesn’t show up as a profile stat. In Foursquare, you get rewarded for things you do, not people you add, so there’s really little incentive to add strangers willy nilly.
However, when you check into a location, you’ll be able to see who else is there, which could be an opportunity to meet like-minded people and make new friends in real life!

2. Complete Your Profile

In order to become mayor of a venue (the user who checks in the most in the past two months carries this title), you must have a profile pic. “No faceless dictatorships on Foursquare!” Heyman says.

Foursquare settings image
Additionally, if you link up your Foursquare account with Twitter, your profile URL will show up on Foursquare instead of just a user number. You’ll be able to send notifications to Twitter when you check in places, earn badges, or take over as Mayor somewhere – either automatically or whenever you deem fit.

3. Add Shouts to Your Checkins

Instead of simply tagging yourself in different spots around the city, keep your friends in the loop by adding short messages, or shouts. You can use these to let people know they’re invited to join you, for example, or to announce what’s happening at the venue you’ve arrived at.

4. Leave Tips and Build Your Top 12 List

Foursquare top 12 image
After adding a few friends, you may notice messages pop up when you check in at or near venues your buddies have been to. These are tips your friends have left. Suggestions like “try the grilled cheese” from people you trust can go a lot further than the faceless reviews you read on other city guide apps.
Pay it forward by leaving tips yourself. This not only enhances the day-to-day experience, but helps you build your own personal top 12 list. Heyman explains, “Everyone knows something a little special. Put it out there so your friends will see it if they check in to your favorite spot.”

5. Manage Your Push Notifications so You Don’t Go Crazy

Foursquare check in image
If you use Foursquare on an iPhone, you can get pinged – without getting an SMS charge from your carrier – whenever a friend checks in or shouts. However, all those messages can still be annoying if you have a lot of friends (or one friend that checks in obscenely often), don’t fret: Foursquare lets you configure ping settings for individual friends at foursquare.com/manage_friends
You can also turn pings off entirely, either for the night or until further notice. Personal example: My wife used to go crazy when my friends would check in at 3 AM (which is often). Once I discovered the ping management feature, she lifted her Fourquare embargo, meaning I can once again go to bed with my iPhone in the same room.

6. Stake Your Claim

Now that you’ve got things down, it’s time to get competitive. Every popular venue has a mayor — the person who has visited the most in a given time period, and mayors are often entitled to perks like free coffee or sandwiches, depending on the place. At the very least, mayorship equals bragging rights, and many a Foursquare user has been unwittingly caught in an epic mayor battle.
Going for mayor at your favorite spot encourages you to get out more, which is rarely a bad thing. Plus, new friendships are often happy byproducts of mayor wars.
“Curious how close to being mayor you are at your favorite spot?” Heyman asks. “Hover your mouse over the current user’s pic on the venue page and it will show you how many times they’ve been there in the past two months. See how close you are to claiming the throne.”


Foursquare is a social network that actually gets you out of your cave and into the real world with other living, breathing people. Once you nail a few basics down, it can add exponential value to your social life. Oh, and did I mention the free sandwiches?

Fuente: http://mashable.com/2009/12/10/fourquare-tips/

Editor: Alex Rojas writes articles related with technology, social media and marketing. Sponsored by Costa Rica Hotels, Motor de reservas en linea and Travel to Costa Rica 

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