Techcrunch published an interesting article on the growth of Foursquare and Gowalla today ["Foursquare is 5 times larger than Gowalla and growing 75% faster each day"] that's worth a look if you're into such things (mobile, location-based games and applications). I happen to think that they're pretty important - and pretty fun as well. I've been using both services for some time, but I tend to spend most of my time in Foursquare ... because I have a bigger, more active group of friends there. For the uninitiated, here's how it works:
- Either sign up online, or download the foursquare app for your mobile device
- Find your friends; it'll allow you to connect to both your twitter and facebook accounts to find active foursquare users. Highly recommended (for reasons you'll see below).
- Whenever you go somewhere (with the important exceptions of your home and anywhere your kids go on a regular basis) you use your mobile phone to "check in." By doing so, you alert your friends to where you are; earn points; and move towards becoming the "mayor" of the location (by checking in there more than anyone else).
Foursquare, still in its early days, is a lot like facebook in its early days in one key respect: People who are complete strangers try to connect with you. This is not only inadvisable in my opinion, its also creepy and potentially dangerous. That's why I have a beer rule, which is as follows:
If I randomly found myself in the same town as this person, would I want to have a beer with them?
If yes, then I would accept a foursquare contact from them (or offer one of my own). If not, I just decline and go about my business. It actually does work (I've met up with foursquare friends in various cities on numerous occasions), which, in my opinion, makes it a good rule. What are YOUR rules for accepting someone's offer to connect on foursquare? Twitter? Facebook? I'd love to know; leave me a comment!