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Why This Mom Likes Foursquare and You Might as Well

September 3, 2011

Earlier this evening a close friend checked in on foursquare after months of inactivity so I sent her a foursquare comment welcoming her back.  While I did not expect a response immediately, she was at dinner after all, she texted me and her response was:

“Whatever. Why do you like foursquare anyway”

This was not the first time that this question has crossed my mind but it was the first time I seriously sat down and thought about it. Ok, fine, I thought about it while doing 5 others things at the same time…sitting down is not really my style, who has time?!!

My response to her, while flippant, is also accurate:

  1. I like hearing what other people have to say about places that I go to
  2. I can live vicariously

Both are true…….

The first is the reason I spend a lot of time on foursquare when I am traveling or when I visit new places in my hometown.  It is convenient to know what other people have recommended and, more than once, I have taken these suggestions and been very pleased that I did so.  The best time was when I landed at Newark Airport to see a comment on how to get to NYC on mass transit, I did not need to look it up, I just followed the directions since the commentator was someone I knew and could trust. Plus, when I travel, I can get competitive with some of my friends and occasionally achieve #1 check-in status which is always fun. Of course, I also enjoy the occasional benefit, discount, freebie, that being a mayor of a location gets me.

However, part of me wonders if the second reason is not the most important, or at least the reason I am on it everyday and have it as a column on Tweet Deck.  The ability to see what all my other friends are doing in “real-time” allows me to live vicariously when my days are filled with motherhood, full-time+ job (a/k/a bringing home the bacon), home and family maintenance and working out.  Given that this makes up about 95% of my life, being able to live vicariously can be a treat and, when I follow-up with my friends on the places they have been, allows me to enjoy a little of their experience as well.  For a Type-A NYC born working mom who now lives in the exurbs of a smaller city this is fun and makes me feel a lot less cut off than I otherwise would.  However, everything must have a flip side and, if I were to be completely honest, I would own up to the fact that living vicariously can also be depressing.  It can be very hard to watch friends out traveling when, much as I love my son to pieces, part of me would rather be out there with them.

So, while I encourage other mom’s like me to check out Four Square and other geo-location apps, be aware that while they can provide entertainment they can also be a source of occasional sadness.

Maybe this starts a chain of posts analyzing the pros and cons of different social media tools for other redefined mommies….

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