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Foursquare: Where are We on World AIDS Day?
By Meico Whitlock, AIDS.gov Fellow
Today, on World AIDS Day, we re-dedicate ourselves to raising awareness about an epidemic that has claimed far too many lives. This is an opportunity for us to reflect on the many tools we use to reach our audience and whether they are appropriate for the messages we are trying to communicate. Since there has been a great deal of buzz about global positional systems, or GPS-enabled applications and services that determine your location, we wanted to share with you what we’ve learned about one tool in particular and how it is being used in the field.
What is Foursquare?
Foursquare is a GPS-enabled social network for mobile devices that allows you to share your location with friends and find others who are nearby when you “check-in” to places. Incentives for “checking-in” include tips about different locations, notifications of retailer discounts, and the ability to earn badges for accomplishing tasks or visiting certain locations. You can also link your Foursquare account to Facebook and Twitter .
Who is using Foursquare?
- 4 million users have created a Foursquare account , resulting in a total of 200 million “check-ins” since October 2010;
- 20,000 new users create a Foursquare account everyday ; and
- 4% of online Americans use location-based services like Foursquare as of November 2010.
Foursquare in response to HIV
- Find local HIV services and events.
- Promote HIV testing, services, and events.
- Raise awareness about HIV and foster discussion.
Examples from the field
- MTV and Kaiser Family Foundation’s “Get Yourself Tested” Campaign
- American Public Health Association
- (RED) and their Turn Red for World AIDS Day Campaign (tip: “shout” #turnred when you check in anywhere today to get a special (RED) badge!)