Dangers of Foursquare

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Over the past month, I have become completely addicted to checking in to my locations, earning badges and conquering the title of mayor in a new location-based social networking game called Foursquare.

For those who do not play Foursquare on their smart phones, here is the premise of the game; You “check in” to a location on a map, earn points for checking in, eventually earn badges for checking in enough times to enough places, and most excitingly, you can even receive the title of mayor of a place for being the person to check in most to that particular location, like a restaurant, your work, or your own home.
Again, I have been happily playing Foursquare now for about a month, and I have to admit, it took me about a month too long to realize the potential dangers of Foursquare.

A few days ago a friend approached me to warn me about the constant Foursquare updates that post on my Facebook wall. He warned me that making my locations public is just an invitation for creepers and bad people. So true. I thought back to all the previous places I checked in and the messages I often attached to each check in, telling anyone who checks my Facebook or Twitter accounts where I am at most times, including where and when I work, where I workout, where I love to eat and where I sleep.

If you think about it, this is the perfect invitation for a robber or stalker. Someone up to no good could easily see what days I work and will be out of the house, or when I am out at the gym or out to dinner. I have never personally done this, but people also tend to post the house addresses of their friends and family, which just sets up disaster for others too.

Foursquare has 150,000 users, and the site leaves the decision up to the users whether or not to post their specific location. A fantastic app, fun for the consumer, and brilliant for the businesses. All I can say is think about what you post before you post it, or follow my rules and check in as your leaving! Use discretion, and for god’s sake, do not leave your home address and a message reading, “Gone on vacation, be back in a week!”

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