23 Things for Archivists

Thing 42: Foursquare

By Tiffany Schureman

Foursquare is a mobile social networking application that allows users to “check in” at locations, or venues, using the the Foursquare app that they download on their mobile phone. When a user checks in they earn points and can earn badges offered by the venue.  Users can become mayor of a venue by checking in to a location there multiple times.  Both users and venues are able to leave tips for other users, e.g., “this archives lets you use a digital camera for copies.”  When you check in to a location, your friends on Foursquare can see where you are.  Users and venues can attach pictures to their profiles and to their tips.  Another feature of Foursquare is that users are able to create to-do lists at venues and other users can complete these tasks.

Archives can use Foursquare as a tool to market and brand themselves.  Your archives can create a profile on the Foursquare website and add photos and tips.  These tips and photos are viewable on the app when a user checks in. Foursquare also allows you to ensure correct information is being given out to patrons. The archives should leave tips for patrons on directions, hours, contact information, address, website addresses, new exhibits, and events.  Tips and to-dos are mostly permanent so make sure they have dates attached to them and that they are timely.  These are especially helpful if your archives’ location is in an obscure location, for example the entrance to the archives is under the main staircase on the right.  Remember that Foursquare users’ friends can see where they have checked in and users can also share their check ins on Facebook and Twitter, allowing for virtual word of mouth marketing.

Specials and badges are another way to enhance the archives users’ experience.  The archives could offer a special for the mayor of the archives. This could be “First five copies free each day.”  Badges are another way to reward patrons for visiting your archives.  This is done by setting up an account with Foursquare as a venue.


  • Check to see if your archive has already been created as a venue.
  • Download the Foursquare app onto your mobile phone and check in somewhere!
  • Claim your venue and create a badge for your archives.

Blog Prompts

  • Write about your experiences getting your archives active on Foursquare.
  • Link your archives Facebook and Twitter accounts to Foursquare.  Let your followers know you are using Foursquare now!



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