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Des Moines, Iowa


Foursquare in Des Moines

Geoff Wood

Local leaderboardWe’re now into our second week of having access to Foursquare in Des Moines(1) and I’ve seen enough to form some opinions on the service:
  1. It’s as fun as I thought it would be. It’s hard to describe to new people but the gaming element of keeping a running tally of new places (foursquare parlance: “venues”) you visit in your city, competing in a scoring system with your friends, and getting rewarded (foursquare parlance: “unlocking badges”) for doing certain activities definitely captures my attention.
  2. Two local businesses have jumped onboard and are using the Foursquare system to offer deals and specials to users who stop in: Mars Café and Amici Espresso. It will be interesting to see how others follow along and how this is adapted in businesses that aren’t restaurants, coffee shops or bars.
  3. The battle for being recognized by the system for most-frequent visitor (foursquare parlance: “Mayor”) to a venue is heating up at least two locations: Panera Bread on University and Mars Café (two locations frequented by the social web crowd). Everyone else has basically become Mayor of their workplace.
  4. Foursquare needs an ability to edit venue information. As far as I can tell, I can edit information for venues I created, however, if someone else created it and some information is wrong I can’t do anything about it. There are several venues with incomplete information (such as address not included), wrong information (such as the wrong address or typos) or multiples (more than one venue created in the system). I’d update/correct info at a location when I check in, if allowed.I'd prefer the location be called "801 Grand" rather than "Iowa's Tallest Building"
  5. People need to stop checking in at their homes. I’ve found several locations listed as “My House” or “Smith’s Compound” as nearby locations when I check in somewhere. As with anything online, it’s best to use the tools intelligently and telling the public where you live and when you are or are not there is probably not a good idea. 

For more thoughts on how Foursquare is being implemented in Des Moines, see Nathan T Wright's post on the LavaRow blog: How and why I’m using Foursquare

And, for general Foursquare etiquette check out A guide to Foursquare etiquette on




1. And everywhere else.