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Foursquare hits the social network scene
Alex Morales
Antelope Staff
Photo from Internet

“Serendipity,” a film released in 2001 featuring John Cuscak and Kate Beckinsale told a story of the spontaneity that takes place in the social world before the use of technology. In fact, the lack of technology leads the events in the film to fall magically into place, carrying the viewer on a roller coaster of “what if.”

Odds are in real life most of us won’t experience our ‘cupidial’ social encounters this way. But certainly, we have all caught a glimpse into chance encounters. You know when you see someone; eye contact is made for a split second. You hardly remember the time or the place, but you remember the feeling, a glimpse at serendipity and a heart-sinking feeling that screams, “Yep, you probably won’t see that person ever again.”

Precisely what makes the social scene what it ought to be, a scene of many uncertainties and slight feelings of elation. Perhaps a hopeless version of the social world, I’ll admit. The root cause: the excess implementation of technology to the social scene. It’s turned chance encounters into planned serendipity, and let’s face it, with many aspects geared towards finding that match, or for that matter, many matches.

Well, social networking has recently acquired yet another game, and it’s quickly gaining popularity. Remember that playground favorite, foursquare? It’s making resurgence. But this time around Foursquare is making its comeback on the virtual playground, competing with and joining the ranks with new favorites like Facebook, Twitter and Myspace.

In short it could be described as a glorified Facebook status update or Tweet. But there is more to it than that.

Dennis Crowley, co-founder of Foursquare and an interactive telecommunications connoisseur, best describes it as “a little bit of a friend finder, a little bit of a social city guide and social or night life game.”

The newest member to the mobile social family allows people to publicize their location and highlight the hot spots of a particular city through the use of GPS technology on mobile devices. The more interaction that takes place with the program, the more awareness people have of each other’s recent activities—Not to mention the added publicity given to the hot spots.  

Foursquare also features incentives, virtual merit badges are given every time coordinates are punched in. Some common badges include the “Mayor” badge, earned after being the most frequent visitor to a certain joint. Or you have the “Crunked” badge, earned if you hit four hot spots in one night. The more you use Foursquare, the more points and badges you earn based on when, where and how often you checked in to a certain place. At the end of the month you check out your stats and see if you qualified for business perks at your favorite hangout spots.

As of yet Foursquare is mainly found in metropolitan areas, but you never know, before you know it you could have this new form of cyber foreplay popping up on your own phone. Don’t be alarmed, like all the others, more than four can play.

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