You are probably thinking that this is an odd topic, right? I mean; why would you want to hide check-ins from friends and family if they are on your foursquare friend list? If you did not want them to see where you go and check-in at, you wouldn’t have taken the time to accept them as a friend on the foursquare network. But, it is holiday season right now. Heck, this situation comes up around other holidays, birthdays, and special events too, but this is prime shopping season, especially here in the United States. So, how can you check-in on foursquare without giving away clues about what you are getting them for Christmas (etc.)?
#1 – Use Misdirection!
If I know that I am going to be roaming around in a store for a long time, I will delay my check-in until close to the end of my shopping there and then immediately go to a few more stores to push the evidence of the check-in down in the activity stream. This is quite easy to do at a mall; just do some preplanning and figure out some other stores to look at while shopping, and then begin the experience. Also, keep in mind that other things can help make this even more successful. For example, if you plan out your tips for around that time, that will help push your gift-searching check-in down in the activity stream. Also, you could add some misleading photos. If you are a guy buying your girlfriend some perfume at Macy’s, you could snap a photo over in the Men’s Under Armour section when you check-in and claim that you are looking for some new clothes.
Here’s what not to do in this attempt. I’m not recommending that you check-in to a random place for the sake of checking in. There’s no need to do a drive-by check-in. Instead, plan out a few stores to go to if you want to use the misdirection strategy.
#2 – Check-in Off-Grid!
One of the simplest ways to accomplish this is to check-in off-grid. This method will still allow you to record your visit to the venue(s), but it will be private for only you to see in your check-in history. Of course, with this comes a downside. Checking in off of the grid does not count towards earning or maintaining mayorship status, and it does not provide you with bonus points. So, if you are trying to be the mayor of the venue in question, this method might not be for you. Furthermore, if you are big into the gamification aspect of the foursquare experience, this might not be for you either. Of course, at that point, you have to weigh the opportunity costs with each potential decision and make your final decision accordingly!
The upside of this method is that you do not have to worry about when you check-in at the venue and how long you wait until your next check-in. Your secret [check-in] is safe with foursquare.
#3 – Unfriend Them Until After Christmas!
Okay, this is a bit extreme, but I had to include it since this is one option for you to pick from. For me, this would not work because I am over the friend limit of 1,000 people, and I am also big on staying friends with people on social media as long as I am friends with them in the offline world. So, basically… if I accepted their friend request or got accepted as a friend from them, we’re locked in. But, for you, this option might be perfect. Just remember that there is no guarantee that they will friend you back right away, so choose wisely!