What Foursquare Was Made For

What really struck me when I was wandering around the city center during my first days here in Dublin was the usefulness of Foursquare. It really is underestimated. People laugh at you for checking in at some place, being the one guy at the table who’s staring at his smartphone (just for a few seconds, ideally) and absolutely don’t see the value in that. But Foursquare is way more than a way to tell others “Look at me, I’m at this awesome place and you’re not!”. That also. But not just that.

I found several coffee shops and other places and then saved them to a Foursquare list. Mostly they were recommended to me by people I know via Twitter and App.net, but I also looked at other people’s Foursquare lists full of recommendations. When you’re in the city and just know the name of a place and the general area, then you realize: The collection of places to go to is only half the job. Having all of the adresses ready when you’re actually in the city center and longing for a good cup of coffee is equally important.

Guess what: Foursquare does that. Or, if you don’t know exactly what you want, you can look at your list for inspiration. I just go somewhere in the city and can rely on my Dublin-To-Do list with around 50 places on it:

In the (iOS) app, you just go to your profile (bottom right), then to your lists, and then select one of them. Then tap on the map. There you go.

I don’t understand why Foursquare kind of buries this powerful feature just somewhere in the app. They really should embed your personal lists as an extra tab in the ‘Explore’ section. But hey, nobody’s perfect, and Foursquare’s app has come a long way.
However: If you manage to get a few suggestions before you go some place, that’s way better than the already okay ‘Explore’ feature, I think. They should let you opt out of suggestions of Starbucks coffee shops, though. But that’s just me.

I really think Foursquare could be massively useful to even more people than Twitter. In my experience just a subset of Twitter users also use it, which is a pity.

One last thought: Like I will be stating in a blogpost that’s soon-to-come, all of the gastronomy people here really embrace Twitter. But regarding Foursquare, they obviously don’t care (that much, if at all) if their address is right, their opening hours (powerful feature!) are listed and so on. Weird. Maybe that stuff still just happens on ‘Yelp!’ here, which is not that widespread in Germany and I don’t know that well.