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Sams Teach Yourself Foursquare in 10 Minutes: Mobile Applications

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In this lesson Tris Hussey talks about how you're going to use Foursquare most of the time—your mobile device. He covers the official apps and mobile website here. The apps that other people have created can have varying degrees of quality, so they are something you should use at your own risk.
This chapter is from the book

Getting the Right App for Your Device

Now that you have your Foursquare account and a few friends, it's time to start using Foursquare for real. If there's one thing that I find odd about Foursquare it's that Foursquare is the only social media tool/service that I know of where you can do less on the website through your computer than you can do on your mobile device. At first, this really, really didn't make sense to me. Why can't I check in on the website? I'm in my local coffee place, I'm already mayor here (more about this in Lesson 5), what's the deal?!

The deal is that while Foursquare could use the Google Maps API to have its main site find out where you are, it doesn't want to go in that direction right now. The game is about being out and about, not checking in with your laptop.

So, if you can't check in at the main website, what's it good for? The website is really the hub of it all. Although you can't use it to check in, you can use it for a number of tasks:

  • Adding a tip about a venue or location
  • Adding a new location
  • Managing your friends
  • Reviewing your check-in history
  • Checking out your check-in statistics
  • Editing venues
  • Connecting your account to Twitter or Facebook

For the most important part of Foursquare, checking in, you need to have some kind of mobile, Internet-capable device (smart phone, cell phone, tablet, and so on). Like Twitter, Foursquare is, at its heart, a mobile application. It's a tool you use on the go (or going). Foursquare has done a great job of covering the major smart phones (iOS, Android, and BlackBerry devices) with native applications; you can also use Foursquare on any other devices that can get on the Internet with a mobile browser. For users in the United States, you can also use SMS short codes to check in. So, although the main website seems like a little "meh, so what," it's still important to know how the system works.

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