• Libraries & Foursquare – There’s too much “there” there

    by  • February 9, 2010 • Uncategorized • 1 Comment

    foursquare.com-logo I’ve been playing with Foursquare for about a month now ever since they released their Android app. So far, I’m the mayor of the Nebraska Library Commission (I am there five days a week), the both the Starbucks and Subway around the block. (As far as I can tell, I’m the only one who’s ever checked in at all three places.) Hey, it’s Lincoln, NE, there’s not a lot of population to work with.

    A few weeks ago David Lee King wrote a blog post titled “Foursquare and Libraries – Anything there?” and beat me to the punch on writing an article Introducing librarians to Foursquare. Kudos to David for a wonderful article. Then, something started to happen: I started getting Foursquare friend requests from libraries. Not, librarians. Libraries.

    If you’re wondering why I’m making the distinction let’s consider the suggestions David made. They are:

    • Add your library as a place, or edit the entry if someone else has already added it.
    • Add tags relevant to the library.
    • Add Tips and To Do lists.
    • Add your big events.
    • Shout outs.

    These are all excellent suggestions. But no where in this list is the suggestion that the library create an account for itself and start friending people.

    Think about it. The point of Foursquare is to let your friends know where you are because you are mobile. Libraries, with maybe the notable exception of a bookmobile, are not mobile. A library can’t go anywhere. A library can not check in at a new location.

    So, if you want to create a library account so you can do the things that David suggests do so. I think it would be better, and actually make sense, for an actual librarian create an account for themselves and do these things on behalf of the library. But what could be the purpose of the library friending actual humans? If I’m missing the point of doing this please feel free to fill me in via the comments.

    In the mean time, sorry libraries, I will not be accepting your friend requests. Librarian friend requests gladly accepted.

    About

    Michael Sauers is currently the Technology Innovation Librarian for the Nebraska Library Commission in Lincoln, Nebraska and has been training librarians in technology for more than 15 years. He has also been a public library trustee, a bookstore manager for a library friends group, a reference librarian, serials cataloger, technology consultant, and bookseller. He earned his MLS in 1995 from the University at Albany’s School of Information Science and Policy. Michael’s twelfth book, Google Search Secrets (w/ Christa Burns) was published October 2013 and has two more books on the way. He has also written dozens of articles for various journals and magazines. In his spare time he blogs at travelinlibrarian.info, runs Web sites for authors and historical societies, takes many, many photos, and reads more than 100 books a year.

    http://www.travelinlibrarian.info/

    One Response to Libraries & Foursquare – There’s too much “there” there

    1. Sean Story
      February 10, 2010 at 5:49 pm

      Interesting article. I think that the idea of foursquare is an intriguing one. You say “But no where in this list is the suggestion that the library create an account for itself and start friending people”. If his list is one of suggestions and not rules, then what’s the problem? You are certainly welcome to not accept libraries as friends.

      I’d say that libraries creating accounts is just as valid as any person creating accounts. The library can follow DLK’s suggestions by adding locations, tags, to-do’s etc. While it is true only the Bookmobile is mobile, libraries can add themselves to become check-in locations. I think the point is having their location on Foursquare, not moving around and becoming mayor of Jimmy Johns.

      Truly, I see your point about being a mobile individual v. a stationary building, but not everyone has a GPS enabled telephone or even wants foursquare to tweet everytime they enter Quick Pik. So, libraries that friend you probably respect you and want to be involved in some of the cool things you do, not to be scolded for not following unstated rules.

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