A couple of months back, I wrote about Foursquare. It is, as far as I can tell, the location-based social network with the most legs. It enables you to share your physical location, in real time, with a network of friends you select.
I’m not sure why, but I’ve been diligently ‘checking in’ a couple of times a day. As an aside, besides generating a database of where I spend my time, I’ve realized zero value from Foursquare. That doesn’t mean I won’t see future value–I just haven’t experienced any yet.
When I check in, I declare my location to 77 Foursquare friends (looking at their avatars, that’s a big grid of geeky dudes). Just like Facebook or another social network, you can invite other users to become your friends so that you can share location data.
Here’s the thing. I recently checked my list of pending friend requests. I’d been ignoring it for a while, so the requests had added up. When I went through the list, there were over 60 strangers who wanted to share their location and receive notifications about mine on an ongoing basis.
I may have met a few of these people once before at an event–I have a horrible memory for names. Regardless, theirs are not names I immediately recognize.
If I was on some online-only network, I might have no qualms about ‘friending’ near or total strangers. But when we’re talking about meatspace, that crosses a particular line for me. I don’t actively worry about anybody doing something injurious to me, but I want to know who knows where I am.
This leads me to a question: why are strangers friending other strangers? Do they assume, unlike me, that the stakes are the same on Foursquare as they are, say, on Twitter? What do you think?