By Adrian Molina “Whats the deal with mayorships? You’re at a place more than anyone else and your crowned mayor? Before this foursquare thing you would be thought of as a homeless person who was on the brink of a loitering ticket!” – Jerry Seinfeld 2010 (OK, not really, but you get the point.)
While I hate to state the obvious Foursquare’s popularity has exploded with the announcement of Facebook Places. The two have different goals in mind. Facebook Places will look to integrate into your social graph, showing you photos taken by your friends and what they have said about any given location. Foursquare, on the other hand, looks to call out the competitive nature of its users.
I love to consider foursquare mayorship’s to be the Social Media version of Pogs (Google “Pogs” if you do not know what they are, and while you're at it finish high school). There were those who actually played the game, using slammers to win new pogs, and those who simply purchase pogs without earning them. “Drive-by check-ins” and “asterisk mayorships” have emerged as are a perfect example of the latter category.
One such case was recently chronicled in the New York Times. It documented the battle between Jorge Lopez and Kyle Barry for the mayorship of an alley in Brooklyn. The mayorship for the quite aptly named “Stabber Alley” was initially held by Lopez before Barry usurped it from him. Barry later admitted to checking in from his office or when he was simply in the area. For the sake of reclaiming ownership over the sketchy alley, Lopez created a program using Foursquare’s API that automatically checked him in to Stabber Alley every day. After a few days Lopez took back his mayorship, a mayorship that I like to call an asterisk mayorship because it lacked of authenticity.
While the “Stabber Alley” incident may seem a bit over the top, the gameplay aspect of Foursquare does leave room for users to cheat. I encourage all users to live by the honor rule and to practice Foursquare etiquette. The platform was built on this friendly competition and will only thrive if users continue to keep it fair and friendly. The competitive nature of the game is what local businesses are leveraging and thriving off of. That one coffee shop would love to reward you, the boutique clothing store would love to give you a discount, and that one all you can drink sushi place on 3rd and 37th would love a kid from The Bronx as their mayor (Alex W. I am coming for you).
So next time you are gunning for a mayorship just remember to do the right thing and Hate The Mayor but Respect The Game.
Do you have a Foursquare mayorship nemesis?