Foursquare. Gowalla. BrightKite. Yelp. Your reading about these terms, you hear people talking about them, but what are they? Basically these are social technologies that allow you to (check-in) let people know where you are and in the process your winning badges, smack talk rights, points, sometimes even promotions from places that you visit. This phenomenon is still relatively new so both individuals and businesses are still figuring out how to most effectively use these technologies.
I’ve used Gowalla a little bit, but Foursquare is my choice because it’s the most well-known, popular and I find it easy to use.
How am I using these technologies? As people that follow me on Twitter and Foursquare know, I tend to check-in a lot more when traveling then when at home, sometimes going overboard. Why do I do that? What is my goal? Basically to showcase what a certain place has to offer. I’ve “somewhat” lost interest in the day-to-day checking in a lot around home and gathering mayor ships. Believe me, I still check in and give shout outs to great places around home, but I’d rather have a variety of check-ins in different towns, states, even countries just to highlight great places to check out. I’m sure no one is interested in my daily gas station, fast-food, grocery and errand habits anyways.
When traveling my favorite check-in spots include welcome to signs, coffee houses, tourist attractions, sports stadiums, unique restaurants/bars, parks, river fronts, piers, anything around water for that matter. Just checking in at these places is not enough. I love adding a water photo shot, a great meal tip, something special that will make someone else want to experience the same thing.
I’ve definitely got the parks, stadiums and water shots covered in the Foursquare screen shot below on a recent trip through Tennessee.
The day road trip. My staple. On these, I’ll check-in usually only on the way to a destination. I find no reason to check back in at the same places, trying to collect mayor ships unless there is more to see. On a recent day venture I checked in at the same park in Cleveland to and from because I wanted day and night photos.
When traveling, contrary to my statement above, I will check-in at a gas station or fast food joint, especially on long distance trips. It’s to let followers know where I’m going and passing through. Sometimes I’ll drive through a whole state and that’s my only chance to give them a shout out.
How about when flying? Airports are a must. They show your on the move, ready to travel. I check-in at the airport itself and usually a restaurant within. I just laugh at all the gates, bathrooms and seats that have been checked in at. Do people really to be that specific with their check-ins?
So next time I’m out on the open road, I’m sure you’ll see me checking in a lot, shouting, tweeting while taking photos. Maybe I’ll see you out there.