Foursquare tips from an addict
So yes, Foursquare is coming to London, and with it are all the badge-unlocking, social-drinking, night-life infesting, mobile gaming experiences that Yanks have been experiencing for the better part of a year.
So you've got the basics of what Foursquare is, but how do you get the most out of your Foursquare experience? We sat down with an addict in the US, Randall Bennett, who has been playing the game since it's launch in March in the US to grab some tips on how to do well.
It might seem like a good idea to check-in when you're not actually going places to get some extra points, but in all seriousness, Foursquare is competitive socializing, with a larger focus on socializing rather than competition. Adding your home as a venue and checking in when you wake up is against the spirit of the game, and will earn you countless eye rolls among fellow players.
That being said, feel free to retroactively check in to venues you last visited, or check in early before heading to a venue. Catching up and checking in early aren't cheating, they keep the game moving. In fact, it's always good to tell people where you're going, so friends can catch up with you before you get there.
Control your contacts
It might seem like a no brainer, but I keep getting friend requests from people who I've never met. While with Twitter or Facebook, I don't really mind putting myself out there and oversharing some of my life, Foursquare is where I draw the line.
Sure, there's an inherent creepiness to have random people knowing where you are, but the game is actually more fun when you keep your contacts controlled. Since the game works as a way for friends to meet up, an overabundance of random strangers can throw off things like your leaderboard, and other elements of the game. It's most fun to see where your friends are headed, and to meet them there if you're free. If you have thousands of random strangers who are checking in constantly, the "random connection" value of the game is diminished, and Foursquare becomes another place overrun by random internet people.
The Foursquare iPhone app is killer, to be clear, but since many of us don't rock Apple's golden child, head to the mobile site. The game is primarily advertised as an iPhone app experience, and with the iPhone app players get benefits like the ability to find close venues via the built-in GPS, but fruit-less phoners can still participate with the mobile site.
The mobile version is essentially a WAP-style application, so it'll work with virtually any phone on the market, which can access the Web. On the plus side too, use the mobile site in your browser to catch up your check-ins when you forget on the road.
The company says there's an Android app out as well, and other OSes should follow soon.
Contribute Top 12 tips
A great way to discover new experiences is to pay attention to the Top 12 tips section of any friends' Foursquare profile, but it only works if you actually fill it out. Start simple, by filling in the info of your most frequent watering hole / restaurant of choice, but as you find a new experience, go and fill it on your list. I've found many-a-new restaurant by checking out the tips around Foursquare.
Foursquare takes one of the most enjoyable aspects of urban living, discovering new nightlife, and makes it more simple. While everyone likes to be the mayor of a new place, don't get so caught up in "winning," but instead network socially with your friends in real life.
Randall Bennett is a recovering Foursquare addict, and runs TechVi.com. The site is focused on video news, video commentary, and keeping people up to date on the latest in gadgets and tech with a video slant.