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G-Sync - What's The 20 on Foursquare

There seems to be no shortages today of new apps for smart phones that promise one thing, but really just deliver a huge waste of time while cluttering up your life. 

There is, however, an app that recently caught my attention ... and in a good way.

Foursquare is a new social mapping app where users can add not only where they are in the city, but post reviews and tweets to their Twitter or Facebook accounts.  So I decided to be an early adopter and take it out for a spin.

Over the course of the next 36 hours, I interacted with Foursquare to see if it was indeed the next generation of Facebook or Twitter or simply another app we bury conveniently in the back of our handheld.  (Friendster, anyone?) After a few frustrating late night hours of data entry and clumsy "did I post my location or not" moments, I hit the [off the grid] button and returned to a life where my movements went unreported.

But after a little rest the next day and a fresh pespective, I realized how Foursquare could build a new and spot-on urban map of a city, based on the strength and integrity of many contributors.  It may also provide a way for businesses to reward loyal customers. (San Chez has adopted it already!)

Just like waitstaff and bank tellers get to know their customers who frequent regularly, Foursquare users can gain status with their local businesses by checking in.  You may get badges of honor for your hopping around town or maybe you'll be named the "Mayor" of a location -- its ambassabor of sorts -- if you visit the location often enough.

To gain more insight, I talked with Ian MacLurg, a friend and social marketing analyst for Pomegranate Studios. "Foursquare is one of the first social networks that actually encourages people to get off the couch and do something," Ian said.  The site and app allows users to archive where they have been, while leaving "nuggets of knowledge for those that follow," he explained.

"Hey if we do it with pictures on Facebook and Flickr, videos on YouTube, and quips on twitter," Ian said,  "Then why not a geographic social mapping software married with a unique game interface on Foursquare?

Foursquare has some shortcomings in my opinion, such as the ability of individuals to post comments about locations without physically being there.  But the concept is outstanding. I think Foursquare or similar app is something that metro Grand Rapids can literally go to town with. 

And when I'm tired of tracking my own meanderings, I can always turn off the phone and return to my private realm where Foursquare reminds me that because of my often visits I am the Mayor of [ Off The Grid ]

Choose local…and often.

Tommy Allen, Lifestyle Editor

Email:  RapidGSync@gmail.com
Twitter Hopping: @TommyGSync

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Photo of Tommy is provided by Tommy Allen of TanglefootStudio.com

Press Releases for upcoming events in the West Michigan area should be sent to TommyRapidG@gmail.com. Please include high res jpg images that are at least 500 pixels wide.

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