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Foursquare is a location-based social network that awards users for “checking-in” to venues in a city on a mobile device.
Foursquare was created by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai in 2009. Crowley had previously created another geolocation-based social network, Dodgeball, which was acquired by Google in 2005. Google shut down Dodgeball in 2009 and replaced it with Google Latitude. Originally available only in 100 metro areas, Foursquare became available worldwide in January 2010. As of January 2014, Foursquare had more than 45 million users and 5 billion check-ins worldwide.
Foursquare allows users to connect with friends and broadcast their location across other networks such as Twitter and Facebook. The service has game-like features to entice users to engage with the Foursquare regularly, including points, badges, and “mayorships” for the most check-ins at a location.
Foursquare users can leave “tips” and bookmark venues, allowing them to use the service similar to a city guide like Yelp. Businesses have responded by creating deals specifically for Foursquare users, and the company lets businesses access information about customers who check-in.
News organizations have attempted a number of experiments to use Foursquare as a means of reaching new audiences. In 2010, The Wall Street Journal “checked in” to Times Square with news alerts when the areas was evacuated over fears of a suspicious package in a car.
Washington, D.C.-based TBD has said it used Foursquare to try to identify people near the scene of a shooting at the headquarters of the Discovery Channel. The National Post in Toronto partnered with Foursquare to offer recommendations and tips from the Post for the Toronto International Film Festival.
The St. Louis Beacon was a nonprofit online news organization that covers public affairs, health issues and the arts. It existed from 2008 through 2013, when it merged with St. Louis Public Radio. The Beacon was launched in 2008 by a group of former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporters and editors. Its initial funding was provided through…