Social Privacy 411 Series: Foursquare

By Renee Revetta | Jun 22, 2010
More Articles by Renee


I just became the mayor of Standing Outside Yo...
Image by qthrul via Flickr

Instead of just sharing what’s on your mind or what’s happening, Foursquare asks where you are. As far as privacy is concerned, this platform calls for the most awareness. Last week three of my friends not in the online marketing world joined Foursquare. Immediately upon seeing the friend requests, I felt I should make them aware of a few things. With creepy sounding things out there like Pleaserobme.com and @StalkMeBot it might be easy to be scared away right after joining. However with the right settings, you’ll be able to share your location and network with a calm state of mind. Some warnings and tips follow.

  1. First of all, if you’re one of those people that accepts all Facebook friend requests, please don’t carry-over that practice with Foursquare. Similar to LinkedIn, as a guideline, only accept the people you actually know.
  2. Realize that anyone can see your photo, name, links to your Twitter and Facebook accounts, friends, badges, tips and to-dos. Anyone can also see your total nights out, total check-ins, to-dos, and total things done tallies. Friends see your mayorships and your check-in feed.
  3. Really consider the consequences before syncing Foursquare with Facebook. I bet you don’t actually know some of the people you call “Facebook friends”. Sharing your exact location with all of your Facebook contacts could potentially cause some issues. So if you’re looking to explore Foursquare, but not completely comfortable sharing with your entire Facebook network, choose to not send your Foursquare updates to your Facebook account.
  4. Same idea with Twitter.  Especially since Twitter is a public network (unless you have protected Tweets), remember that if you sync Foursquare with Twitter, those updates can be searched for and found on the Internet by ANYONE. If you’re cool with that, carry on, but if not: Don’t connect Foursquare updates to Twitter. Chances are some people might be slightly irritated if you check-in frequently anyway.
  5. Be aware that on the formal scale Foursquare is all the way at the casual end. For example more than 4 check-ins in one night will award you with a “Crunked” badge. Don’t be appalled or shocked. Also, checking in with 3 members of the opposite sex will result in a “Playa Please” badge. It could take some explaining to your wife or husband, but just remind them about Foursquare’s tongue-in-cheek approach.
  6. Speaking of – if you’ve synced Foursquare with Facebook and Twitter and occasionally tell a little white lie about your whereabouts – immediately un-sync. :) Your check-ins tell the truth.

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