Checkin Etiquette

If you’re not using Foursquare or Gowalla, now is the time to start, especially if you’re in the tourism industry. Both of these sites allow users to “check in” at places via their phone and earn badges or pins for different checkin criteria.

When you sign up for either of these, you have the option to connect your checkins to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. While I feel this is a great feature, I see it overused and abused quite frequently.


Don’t tweet all of your checkins, especially without comments. As a twitter follower, I don’t really need to know when you’re at Walmart.

Do be selective and tweet (or post to Facebook) checkins that are special locations (vacations, festivals, something really cool) or those that have a funny comment. If your comment is something like “I want to be a Walmart greeter when I grow up” then, by all means, tweet it.

Congratulations, you have a job.

Don’t checkin daily at work. Yes, we are all lucky to have jobs in this economy but I don’t really care what time you get to the office.

Do make sure your office is listed as a venue and consider leaving tips for office visitors who may be looking for a nearby lunch restaurant or happy hour bar.

Honey, I’m home

Under no circumstance should you ever add your home as a venue, no matter how cool you think it is to be the king (mayor) of your castle. Foursquare and Gowalla should be used as a means to connect with others, not to brag that you are just getting home at 4am because you stayed out all night partying. Congratulations, you have a social life.

Best Practices

  • if you’re not already, do use Foursquare and Gowalla
  • add comments to your checkins
  • tweet/post to Facebook checkins at special venues or those with witty comments
  • add Foursquare tips and create Gowalla trips
  • be selective with your Foursquare/Gowalla friends

Even though it’s technically a game where you earn points, pins and badges, Foursquare and Gowalla are so much more than just telling people where you are. It’s about connecting with others and taking online relationships offline.


  1. You didn’t really explain “why” you should use Foursquare or Gowalla, you just gave tips on “how” to.

    I just got an account for both but I have yet to see the point of either.

    • Anne Hornyak

      I think it can be a great rewards program when venues offer discounts for checking in.

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