Laurenstuart712's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘foursquare safety

About a month ago, I was sitting at Starbucks with my friend Rachel. In the middle of discussing our summer job plans and dishing about our town’s latest gossip, I see her face light up with sheer joy as she glances at her iPhone. When I ask her why all the sudden excitement, she replies: “I just became mayor of this Starbucks! YES!”

I thought she was going loony.

Turns out there was no need to check her in to the nearest mental hospital. She was talking about the new social media phenomenon, Foursquare. Foursquare, as Mashable describes it, “is a location-based social network to help you connect with friends using GPS via your mobile device.”¬†In short, Foursquare allows you to broadcast your current location to your friends.

Foursquare Users “check in” at different locations (Starbucks, for example) and can see if other friends have recently checked in at that same location. Users may also see any recommendations their friends have suggested, like a favorite menu item or a location to visit next. The person who checks in at a location the most becomes that location’s “mayor,” which can sometimes lead to awesome giveaways, like a free cup of coffee, a free meal or even a free hotel stay, depending on the location.

On one hand…

Foursquare can be a great marketing tool. Jimmy Choo, the supreme god of footwear, recently used Foursquare to create a competition that rewards one of its followers with a free pair of fabulous Jimmy Choo shoes. The winner of the Jimmy Choo Trainer Hunt event, cleverly nicknamed CatchAChoo, will be the “first person to identify the trainers in a location from which Jimmy Choo has publicised its location through its Twitter, Facebook or Foursquare page.” When businesses use Foursquare in this way, it can increase brand visibility as well as provide incentives for customers to visit the business or store.

On the other more cautious, over-protective hand…

In today’s society, when crime rates are higher than ever, is it really safe to use geotagging applications like Foursquare – which announce detailed information about where you are, where you’re going and places you visit often? I think the people behind¬†pleaserobme.com, a website that creates and raises awareness about the possible dangers that can come with social media, explained it best when they said:

“The danger is publicly telling people where you are. This is because it leaves one place you’re definitely not… home. So here we are; on one end we’re leaving lights on when we’re going on a holiday, and on the other we’re telling everybody on the internet we’re not home. It gets even worse if you have ‘friends’ who want to colonize your house. That means they have to enter your address, to tell everyone where they are. Your address.. on the internet.. Now you know what to do when people reach for their phone as soon as they enter your home. That’s right, slap them across the face.”

Maybe you can skip the slapping part. But regardless, they make a great point. You should be careful about the amount of information you’re broadcasting out into the vast Internet world. It’s a big place out there – you wouldn’t want personal information to get into the wrong hands.

So finally, the question to end all questions: Foursquare – a fun, fresh marketing tool or a dangerous invasion of privacy?

Well, that’s for you to decide. My goal is to simply provide you with both sides of the argument and give you the tools you need to make an informed decision.

That’s all for now! I’m off to try and win those fabulous Jimmy Choo shoes…

-Lauren

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Finding the ME in Social MEdia

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My name is Lauren Stuart and I am a senior studying public relations and at the University of Oregon. I am interested in corporate PR as well as pursuing a career with a public relations agency.

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