If you don't know what Foursquare is you are not alone. There are a little more than 3 million users currently on Foursquare. Now that is quite a jump from the 725,000 users in March, but it is still quite short of the 500 million users on Facebook.
What is Foursquare? Well, I am not talking about the game played on playgrounds with four squares and a ball, but a mobile application that "aims to encourage people to explore their neighborhoods and then reward people for doing so." If you visit a location often enough you can become the 'mayor' of the location. Some businesses are taking advantage of Foursquare and giving away things or offering a discount to those people who check-in to their location. For example, Granite City in Sioux Falls offers a free 20 oz beer to the mayor of Granite City.
Along with being a 'mayor' you can get 'badges' for going to certain locations, checking in a certain number of times or at certain times. While the badges can be fun, you have to be careful what you are saying to the rest of the world, because they can become a story unto themselves.
For example, there is the Bender badge - where if you check-in at locations four nights in a row. Or the Crunked badge - where you check in at 4 stops in one night. Now are all of those bars? Not sure, but what story is starting to develop if someone sees those badges? And really, do you want to broadcast that information to everyone out there?
While there are some articles that talk about privacy, you also want to be careful about sending mixed messages. While it might be fun to check-in everywhere and go over everything, make sure that you are not sending a mixed message to everyone (like getting a 'player please' badge when you are out on the town WITHOUT your significant other - didn't happen to me, I'm just saying). If you want to see a compiled list of badges, this website is doing a pretty good job of keeping it all up.
What you can take away from this as far as communication goes is a simple one: Communication is all about getting the right message out. If you don't have a clear message when you are speaking, people can get the wrong idea. When that happens, they will either be uninformed, misinformed or utterly confused. When that happens, your speech will suffer.
So make sure when you are writing and giving your speeches that you use language and images that are not going to have double meanings in them. Being clear, concise and unambiguous is very important in making sure that your speeches are successful.
So if you are on foursquare, make sure to think about what you want posted for everyone to see. And if you are interested, you can find me there trying to keep my Mayorship of Queen City Bakery!