I finally took the plunge. After giving it several months of thought—well, avoiding it for several months is a little more accurate—I decided to turn my personal privacy settings down a notch and sign up for Foursquare, the new social networking tool that allows you to tell your friends exactly where you are at any given time.
After looking up a few of my favorite Minnesota places, I was overwhelmed with a Jim Carrey-esque “Yes Man” attitude. For those of you who have not yet seen the film, Carrey leaves his life of nay-saying and starts saying “yes” to every opportunity presented to him. Much like the character, I saw a tip listed at one of my new favorite breakfast spots:
“Arrive early. Line up behind someone who's almost done. Come hungry. Enjoy the taste of those hash browns for the rest of the day!”
Good idea! Yes! Next time I go I’ll order hash browns. From there I stumbled to places I haven’t been, but have heard about.
“#5 pizza. Red wine. This is all you need to know.”
I might not know what a #5 pizza is, but I can tell you I want to go get it right now.
Where most applications encourage you to stay home, all curled up adding comments to blogs, updating Twitter or adding discussions on Facebook, Foursquare encourages people to take their social networking to the real world. I'm not sure what it is, but I’m so eager to go out, visit new places, and tell my friends all about it. (And of course I can’t wait to be major of something.)
Is this the new bridge that connects online conversations to real life places? Or is this application one step too far in the destruction of personal privacy? Facebook started by encouraging you to update your friends on your life, Twitter encouraged you to make new friends by revealing information to strangers, and now Foursquare is encouraging you to post your exact location on the world wide web.
If you’re on Foursquare, are you as eager to get to be “mayor” as I am, or is this something you have just to have without frequent updates? If you haven’t signed up yet, what’s holding you back? I’m ready to get started by exploring new places and taking recommendations from my new Foursquare friends, but am I alone? Or is Foursquare well on its way to stimulating the economy by turning stay-at-home online enthusiasts into adventurous "Yes Men" ready to hit the town?