Have you kicked around the pros and cons about whether or not to accept friend requests on Foursquare? When you receive a friend request from someone you know in real life it’s probably a no brainer to accept their request, but if the request is from someone you only know from other social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, or perhaps FriendFeed then you might want to think twice about accepting the request. I’m not suggesting that you should never accept a friend request from someone you met through social media, I am only suggesting that you choose wisely and always remember that the person behind that cute and fuzzy avatar might not be who you think they are in real life.
While Foursquare is a lot like other social media sites in that it is a great way to facilitate connections, keep in mind that it is a location-based service and using such a service will leave a digital trail of your every move. Granted, location-based social media is a lot of fun and it is becoming quite popular these days, but there are a lot of things to consider when it comes to your privacy. For starters, when you use location-based service apps you are forfeiting your privacy to gain a social media experience. You need to ask yourself if removing the online privacy layer is really worth it to you. You see, location-based apps such as Foursquare use your smartphone’s GPS to get your approximate location so you can view a list of nearby venues and check-in. However, when you check-in to a venue, the Foursquare app broadcasts your location to all the friends you accepted on Foursquare. This could be a potential problem for users if they don’t know who is monitoring their location so this is why you need to choose your friends wisely. Some might argue that linking Foursquare to Twitter and Facebook is no different than accepting friend requests from strangers. While there is some truth to this argument, the difference is that you get to choose when you want to broadcast your Foursquare check-ins to Twitter and Facebook. Unless you choose “Off the Grid” within your Foursquare app, all your friends on Foursquare will see your check-ins regardless if you update your status on Twitter and Facebook.