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Location-based social networking is the newest wave to hit social media. Foursquare is taking the lead as a meaningful and measurable tool having attained its six millionth user in January, 2011 and growth of 3400% in 2010.

Maryland State Parks Foursquare page

How it works Users with GPS-enabled mobile devices download the Foursquare app.  Once launched, Foursquare determines the user’s location, and provides them with information on nearby sites or businesses.  The user then finds his or her exact location, and “checks in” by selecting it.  The user may then be presented with an advertised special or virtual coupon.  If the exact location is not listed, the user can create it.

Once checked into a Foursquare venue, the user can type a Twitter-sized message or tip to alert Foursquare friends of their location. An option also enables sending check-in information and tips to Twitter and Facebook accounts, with messages posted on the user’s stream or wall.   In time, the user with the most check-ins at a given location becomes the “mayor” and Foursquare awards merit badges based on the types of venues a user checks into and how often they participate. Read more