President Obama is Now on Foursquare

Location-based check-in apps finally go mainstream.

President Obama is Now on Foursquare

It was just two short years ago that Foursquare first started making its way around circles of early-adopting tech nerds who started checking in to their go-to bars and coffee shops to let friends know where they were.

At the time I remember hearing a primary concern repeated over and over: “That’s creepy—I don’t want people to know where I am.” The resistance over privacy concerns included irrational fears that one’s nemesis would see your Foursquare check-in status, promptly tracking you down and killing you at wherever you’d checked in.

The concerns also included the paranoid delusion that a stranger would friend you on Foursquare for the express purpose of waiting until you’d checked in somewhere and using this as evidence that you were not home to burgle your house.

The same issues still haunted the paranoid by the time Facebook decided to launch Facebook Places last year.

Just a year later, the world has largely shrugged off the privacy concerns, realizing that people just plain old don’t use Foursquare to keep tabs on each other, and psycho killers are just too lazy or out of touch to use locations-based social media.

Underscoring the change in locations-based apps going mainstream, the White House blog announced last night that President Obama is now on Foursquare. If it’s safe enough for him, it’s probably safe enough for you.

The White House gave Foursquare a major shout-out last night, writing on its blog, “There are over 10 million people already ‘checking in’ around the world, and now you’ll be able to discover ‘tips’ from the White House featuring the places President Obama has visited, what he did there, plus historical information and more.”

But all politicians are kind of bad at using social media, and the president’s first check in was no different. Huffington Post reported that the White House checked Obama in to Lower Hannah’s Bend Park in Cannon Falls this morning and left a tip reading, “President Obama discussed ways to grow the economy and strengthen the middle class with a crowd of 500 people at Hannah’s Bend Park on the first stop of his economic bus tour across the Midwest.”

Thanks prez, but this is a soundbite, not a tip. It doesn’t even have anything to do with Lower Hannah’s Bend Park. If I ever find myself there—which, let’s face it, is highly unlikely—I’d much rather get a tip from the commander-in-chief on the best nearby waffles or cleanest public bathroom than a regurgitated platitude from the same speech you’re giving in every city.

But hey, baby steps.