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Why I Use Foursquare

Posted on 10 March 2012

waiting in line at Vancouver’s top-rated restaurant


I’ve posted before about why I think using Foursquare is a worthwhile thing, but it wasn’t very well-written. So I’m going to try again with a concrete example.

Last night I had an excellent dinner at one of Vancouver’s best-reviewed restaurants. It’s #1 on Trip Advisor. It doesn’t take reservations, either, so it’s notoriously hard to get into.

I went from hearing about it for the first time to eating complimentary appetizers within half an hour.

We’re down in Vancouver for my wife’s work. Yesterday, we spent some time shopping around West Broadway and were about to head to head to Gastown to look for food when I decided to check Foursquare to see if there was anything good nearby. I fired up the “Explore” option, and limited result to a 1 km radius.

A few blocks away was Vij’s, the restaurant in question. I suppose if I was a foodie or a local I would know about it. But I’m neither. However, I have checked in on Foursquare enough times that it knows I like Indian food. So it told me about Vij’s, we walked for five minutes and it just so happened we arrived at the perfect time– we were just about the last people in the line to get in on the first seating.

This is why I use Foursquare. Not for the badges or the mayorships, even though they add an element of fun. But because I like the idea of living in a world where if I’m five minutes away from a great restaurant in a city or neighbourhood I don’t know well, I’ll be alerted to that fact. Or a great store, or park, or whatever. And the more I use it, the better it gets at recommending things. It can’t tell me the perfect time to arrive in line– that was just lucky– but it did tell me a place I would like was right there.

Oh, and if you manage to check out Vij’s– try the ginger lemon drink. It’s worth it.

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