The one feature that would make @foursquare indispensable

Every month I think about deleting Foursquare from my phone, but every time something makes me change my mind. Last month it was when Kate and I used Ryan Sarver’s Sydney Foursquare list to guide all our eating and drinking. It was incredible, and an experience no tour book could give us.

Foursquare can become the ultimate service to help you remember the great restaurants you’ve been to, and the places your friends are recommending. But there’s one big problem: if I forget to checkin when I’m at a venue, I don’t feel it’s acceptable to checkin later. That’s cheating the game, so the checkin is lost.

Foursquare needs to let me checkin in the past. want to checkin everywhere. I want to document every place I’ve ever been. When I’m on vacation, I want to get to my hotel room after a long day and tell Foursquare every place I visited, and what I loved and hated. Foursquare should be my journal, without forcing me to document in realtime.

This could be a game changer for Foursquare, positioning them to beat Yelp, TripAdvisor, and in the future, even traditional travel guides like Lonely Planet. Foursquare has more data and is more social than any of these.

Bonus: I also believe Foursquare should move away from the “friend” relationship model to an asymmetric “follow” model like Twitter. This would let me follow chefs, travel experts, celebrities, or anyone else who I think might have good recommendations for me. Even if my friends aren’t on Foursquare, I should get great recommendations for places to go.


  1. Great piece! I agree with you. If you go in the desktop version of foursquare you will find a checkbox called “I’ve done this” that allows you to mark a place or a tip tied to a venue on a list as done. Kind of a “checkin in the past” without cheating.

  2. I think a “follow” model would be a fun option, but would that further encourage stalking of celebs or whoever else making the recommendations? Foursquare is a fun app and it seems like there are a ton of great possibilities for it’s use, and at the same time it’s limited by how much privacy the user wants. Maybe if the “follows” data wasn’t time stamped?

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