Checking in, ma'am?

As I've mentioned previously on this blog, I am a big fan of Foursquare. I even wrote a post a few months back, called "Four things I like about Foursquare," and all of what I wrote still holds true. But just recently, I ran into a thought-provoking situation that I'm willing to wager is quite common.

For the third time, I've been ousted as the mayor of my favorite yoga studio. By the same person. Who happens to be a teacher at said yoga studio. (In fairness, she also attends classes regularly as a participant.) This woman and I jostle for the mayorship on an almost weekly basis, and we've congratulated one another online for knocking the other gal off the pedestal. Part of me loves the friendly competition, which I know is a big part of Foursquare's appeal. I also genuinely admire this yogini for being so diligent with her practice - and for remembering to check in, which I don't always do. However, part of me is a teensy bit irritated that an employee of a retail establishment is able to claim the mayorship in the first place. (I know, I sound like a whiny little kid. And for those of you who aren't on Foursquare, like my husband, you're probably rolling your eyes and saying, "Who the heck cares?" But bear with me, please.)

I've read that employees can be "blocked" from checking in at the places where they work, but am not sure whether that practice is particularly widespread. Nor am I sure that it's entirely fair, since if employees are also customers, why shouldn't they be allowed to check in like anyone else? And if you work for a division of a company that customers don't frequent, i.e., a corporate headquarters office, do the same rules apply? In the spirit of full disclosure, that last scenario applies to me: I am the mayor of The Dolben Company, but our multifamily properties that are listed on Foursquare all have different mayors, and generally speaking, I don't check in at our properties when I do site visits.

Rumors have been floating around indicating that Foursquare may someday allow for co/vice mayors, or different check-in categories for employees and customers, but none of that exists today. And of course, Foursquare isn't the only game in town when it comes to location-based marketing. The other platforms all have different rules and rewards, but I'm only talking about Foursquare here, since my personal experience is limited to that.

As location-based marketing continues to become more mainstream, I'd be very curious to know your thoughts on what is considered "fair game" when it comes to check-ins. In the meantime, I am going to gather my yoga gear together in hopes of catching a midweek class...and if I'm able to claim the mayorship again, well, that's just a bonus, isn't it?


  1. I wonder if the solution here would be for this teacher to "check-in" only when she's taking a class instead of teaching it. Then she could continue to play the game, on the same level as everyone else.

    But I'm not sure how one would politely suggest this to her.

  2. Hi Kate,

    I agree, that would be a fair solution, though I can't imagine how one would broach the subject, and having a Foursquare Police (of sorts) would definitely take some of the fun out of the whole "game" aspect. For all I know, this teacher may very well only check in when she's taking, not teaching, a class.

    What I really wanted to drive home with this post wasn't so much about my mayorship battles, but the different shades of gray that seem to apply to location-based services in general. I guess all's fair in love, war, and check-ins, for the time being?

    Thanks for weighing in!


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