If you are unfamiliar, Foursquare is a location-based social network. About two months ago I signed up and decided to try to figure it out. I checked in at a couple restaurants where I was having dinner with my husband. I added a few friends. Then I checked in at the marina where my dragon boat club practices. I earned two badges – a “Newbie” badge and an “I’m on a boat!” badge.
When I start using most new social media applications and services I get excited and become preoccupied with the new experience. Not so with Foursquare. The idea behind the application – continually sharing your location with others – did not appeal to me. I enjoy sharing information and staying in touch with friends and colleagues via Facebook and other social media networks and I often read information on Twitter; but, I do not need to tell the world where I am in real time. Foursquare did not get hooked me. It did not add value or entertainment to my life. So, I stopped using it and decided it was not for me.
Until now… I read a post on the New York Times Lede blog about how Chinese bloggers and activists are using Foursquare to mark their presence in Tiananmen Square and create a virtual gathering on the 21st anniversary of the government’s brutal killing of student demonstrator in that location on June 4th, 1989. A silent, virtual gathering! What a powerful idea!
Soon after the check-ins at Tiananmen Square began, the Chinese government censored Foursquare and blocked the application in mainland China. So, the virtual gathering made an impact!
I still may not choose to use Foursquare very often, but now I definitely see its potential value.