This week, NIU joined the ranks of Harvard, Stanford and Cornell – on Foursquare.
Foursquare is a location-based social networking site, mobile phone application and game.
Users can “check in” to venues, share where they are with friends, look back on the history of where they have been and share tips and information about their favorite places. The app is designed to be a city guide that encourages participants to be adventurous and explore their surrounding community – and beyond.
What does this mean for NIU?
This partnership provides the campus with unique and exciting opportunities. Everyone in the NIU community can vie for campus “mayorships” (individuals with the most check-ins become that venue’s mayor), earn badges, add tips, complete to-do lists and, most importantly, build community on campus. All users are encouraged to add tips about favorite campus spots and venues, showcasing hidden treasures at the university.
Each building on campus, as well as various commons areas, have been added to the foursquare site and are eligible for check-ins. In addition, individuals can check into NIU from anywhere on campus.
Plans are in the works to create rewards for mayors of various campus locations. Also, foursquare will be enabling five special university badges for users with specified quantities of check-ins at venues tagged as libraries, sports stadiums, commons areas and campus cafes/dining halls.
Foursquare has been very diligent to provide information regarding the privacy of its users. Details on how information is shared are available. A chart which itemizes public vs. private information and how specific privacy settings can be controlled also is provided.
A Foursquare account can be tied to Facebook and Twitter accounts to share with friends on other platforms. However, the option is there to go ‘”off the grid” if you don’t want to share too much information, and posting to Facebook and Twitter can be turned on and off.
“This application is a great way to let friends know where you are while earning points, badges, and mayorships. Foursquare is also a perfect tool to spread the word about exciting events on campus and to encourage other people to join in,” says Holly Nicholson, social media specialist for NIU Web Communications. “We are excited about his new venture with Foursquare and are looking forward to the possibilities ahead of us.”