So this is the email that just landed in my inbox. Mike B. it turns out is Mike Bloomberg. As in Mayor Mike Bloomberg. I think.
For those of you not yet in the know, Foursquare is the location-based social networking website that adds a gaming element by awarding ‘badges’ to people who ‘check in’ the most at different places. It is also a way to keep track of where you’re friends are and who they’re with (though you can only see the activities of people who allow you to follow them, and vice versa). The service is increasingly popular in New York social media circles and recently raised $1.3 million in investment funding.
So is Mayor Bloomberg actually using Foursquare? Or is this a fake joke account like the sort we’ve seen on both Facebook and Twitter? I sent an email to the company to see if they could verify whether or not it’s him — unlike Twitter Foursquare doesn’t have “verified” accounts (though perhaps they should be looking into them!).
It’s plausible Bloomberg could have joined: Politicians are increasingly trying to keep up with the online Joneses (see: Twitter). If it is him, however, there’s a certain uncomfortable Big Brother element at play here: do I really want the government to be able to track my (almost entirely innocuous) whereabouts? Not so much, really. Though the temptation to see where the Mayor spends his weekends off might lead me to accept!
UPDATE: Looks like it was a fake after all. Foursquare has removed. The person behind it? Drop.io’s Sam Lessin who tells us “I was going to have a virtual joke election between Bloomberg and Jimmy McMillan.” But more to the point: “I just figured that Mike Bloomberg should be the mayor of New York!”
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org