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Social Networks Explained: Foursquare


Founded in 2009 by Dennis Crowley & Naveen Selvadurai, Foursquare is a web and mobile app that allows users to post their location at a venue – a “check-in” – and connect with friends.

As a “search and discovery” app, Foursquare users are encouraged to be hyper-local and hyper-specific with their check-ins; you can check into a certain floor or area of a building or mention a specific activity while at a venue. Users can link their check-ins to their Twitter or Facebook accounts.

Foursquare facts:

  • Co-Founders: Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai
  • First launched: 2009
  • Employees: Over 100 between headquarters in New York, an office in San Francisco and an outpost in London
  • Community: Over 20 million people worldwide
  • Over 2.5 billion check-ins with millions more every day
  • Businesses: Nearly a million using the Merchant Platform

There are many aspects to Foursquare, so to give you the best description we have broken it down into separate areas…


If a user has checked-in to a venue on more days than anyone else in the past 60 days they will be crowned mayor. Someone else can earn the title by checking in more times than the previous mayor. It’s harder to be crowned mayor in busy places. Even after you’ve been crowned “Mayor,” you must continuously check in to maintain your title.


Badges are earned by checking into venues. Once a badge is earned by a user, it will remain on that user’s profile indefinitely.

* Fun Foursquare Fact: On October 22, 2010, astronaut Douglas H. Wheelock unlocked the NASA Explorer badge by checking into Foursquare from the International Space Station.


Each time a user checks into a place, they get points:

  • Checking into a new place – 3 points
  • Becoming the Mayor of a venue – 5 points
  • Adding a new venue – 5 points
  • Being the first of the user’s friends to check into a new location – 3 points
  • Checking in to a place the user has been before – 1 point
  • Location multiplier for each place a user goes in a day – 1 point per location
  • Checking in with the same friend at multiple locations – BFF bonus

Superuser status

The service provides three levels of Superuser status. Superuser status is awarded to users who have been selected by foursquare staff for their helpful contributions to the community.


Foursquare Brands allows companies to create pages of tips and allows users to follow the company and receive special, expert tips from them when they check-in at certain locations. Some of the companies even allow users to unlock special badges with enough check-ins.


Specials are an incentive for foursquare users to check-in at a new spot or revisit a favourite one. Specials are offered by over 750,000 businesses, users can get discounts and freebies when they check-in. Foursquare specials are intended for businesses to use to persuade new and regular customers to visit their venue.

Although not as popular as other social networks, Foursquare is interesting and could prove fun for you – check it out here!

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