Foursquare 101: Check-in to the Social-Networking Site

By Kate Unger (@UngerKate)

Kate Unger is the marketing manager at Reeve Memorial Union and is the adviser for the Social Media Club of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, a club that discusses and teaches about all aspects of social media. The first meeting of the semester is Thursday, Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m. in Clow 128.

“I just unlocked the Local Badge!”

If you know what I’m talking about, you’re probably an avid user of Foursquare. If you have no clue, keep reading.

Foursquare is a location-based, social-networking site that allows you to check in at various locations in your city in order for you to earn badges and recognition for your social activities and exploration.

Yes. On occasion, I have been known to use Foursquare but I am definitely not an addict – yet.

There are many misconceptions and confusion surrounding this new kind of social networking. So, to help you out a little, I compiled a list of five frequently asked questions in hopes that you will become a little more educated about Foursquare and possibly begin using it in your busy life. After all, we’re all curious about where you buy your toilet paper and your groceries.

Q: What is a Foursquare check-in?

A: A Foursquare check-in is when you tell Foursquare where you are. This is the act of “checking in”. You can check in from stores, restaurants, libraries … just about anywhere.

Q: How do I check in on Foursquare?

A: All you have to do is load a Foursquare app on your mobile device, click “check-in” and then select the place where you currently are from the Places tab. The GPS in your mobile device will assist Foursquare in recognizing your location.

Q: What is a Foursquare badge?

A: Foursquare is a type of social networking game where people who participate can earn points and get badges for the what kind of venue they visit and how often. For example, I earned the Explorer badge because I checked into 25 different locations since I signed up for my Foursquare account. According to, there are over 150 different badges you can aquire. Check out the site and click on the badges to see how you can earn them.

Q: What is a Foursquare tip?

A:  By leaving a tip on Foursquare, you are letting other users know insider information about that specific location based on your experiences there. For example, I left a tip when I checked into Reeve Union by letting other visitors of Reeve on Foursquare know that they can check out Summer Scoops every Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on the Albee Patio during the summer months.

Q: How can I become the mayor of a location on Foursquare?

A: A mayor on Foursquare is the user with the most number of days with check-ins at a specific place within the past 60 days. Only one check-in per day counts towards your mayorship tally. Sometimes mayors receive special discounts from businesses, like free breadsticks at Pizza Hut. When I earned my first mayor badge, I’m not going to lie. I felt pretty cool. I happen to be the mayor of Family Values Hair Salon, Fugleberg Park, Grace Lutheran Church and Pollock Community Waterpark.

Everyone is getting on Foursquare. There are even badges created specifically for the UW Oshkosh campus.

So, there you have it. Foursquare is fun, interactive, competitive and, most of all, social. Check out this video to learn a little bit more about Foursquare. Happy exploring!



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