May 12, 2010, 2:17 PM — You've probably heard of social-networking service Foursquare. If you haven't already jumped in headfirst yourself, you may be aware that Foursquare's a location-based social network that lets users "check-in" via mobile device at restaurants, bars, shopping malls, wherever, to obtain points and rewards in the form of "Mayorships" and "badges." And many are calling it "the next Twitter."
The goal: Check in at your favorite establishments more than anyone else to earn Mayor titles for those particular places--and possibly "Mayor Specials" from those businesses. Explore new locations around your city or area to find new favorite places and earn "badges" in the process. And earn points for every check-in to see if you can outscore your "friends" and all other Foursquare users in the area. (Check out the video below for more detail on how Foursquare works.)
Some Foursquare badges are easy to obtain and require very little strategy on the part of the user, including the Foursquare "Super User" badge, which is awarded to any user who checks in 30 or more times in a single month. Or the "Local" badge, which comes along with three check-ins at the same place in one week.
But other Foursquare badges, the hard-to-find ones, don't show up without a bit of work. For example, the "Pizzaiolo" badge is awarded only when you've checked into 20 different establishments tagged or marked "pizza" by Foursquare users. In other words, users must manually add the tag "pizza" to the 20 establishments you visit before you check in to unlock the Pizzaiolo badge. And as you can imagine, obtaining that particular badge can take some effort.
Here are a handful of tips and tricks on how to discover some of the more difficult to find Foursquare badges, strategy on how to unlock existing Foursquare badges and future badges as they're released, as well as how to mitigate potential privacy concerns.
1) Find a Good Foursquare Badge List
If you're serious about Foursquare and you want to unlock as many badges as possible, the first thing you want to do is locate a good online Foursquare badge list. Foursquare badge lists are mostly user-generated listings of all, or close to all, of the available Foursquare badges. And the good ones are updated fairly frequently with new information on existing badges and recently-added badges. So you'll probably want to check back often.