3 Ways To Hide Foursquare Check-ins When Buying Gifts For People

by Dwayne Kilbourne on November 27, 2012

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.

foursquare Christmas

#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!

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  • MDashF

    ha ha

  • http://twitter.com/georgejlloydtmp George J Lloyd

    I like foursquare!

  • Markbern44

    I just started using foursquare so this is very useful for me.  Thanks!

  • Robert Riley

    One could just power down their phone for the duration of the store visit.

  • http://twitter.com/KauffmanTracy Tracy Kauffman

    This is a cute post.  Good idea though.

  • http://twitter.com/haroldlgardner Harold Gardner

    What about just not checking in if you want it to stay private?

  • http://twitter.com/thejluntzreport Jason Luntz

    I liked this article for real. I love foursquare and I realized that it can give away to much info to the ones I love, especially when I am planning any kind of surprise. So this will be helpful

  • http://twitter.com/zoe201015 Amanda Fox

    I never thought about this until now, but those are really some excellent tips. I would have gone on business as usual and probably given away all my shopping secrets. Excellent advice! 

  • http://twitter.com/tag64geoff geoff tegjeu

    no ssue in this as we dont use it, so there is no reason for misdirection

  • http://www.justinwheeler.net Justin Wheeler

    Never even thought about it.  Just as well I am not a foursquare fanatic.  My guess is that it could be quite fun for my friends to enter a game to guess which shop I bought them a present in and what it was!

  • Rick Thomas

    I use Foursquare a lot … BUT, don’t feel compelled to use it all the time!  If I had a particular concern these tips would be very useful, however, I might just elect to not check in at all!

  • http://twitter.com/abacnok Ernest Koncaba

    Personally, I would just not check in. Solve the entire problem. 😉

  • Mika Douglas

    Well thought out.

  • dwaynekilbourne

    I agree, but if I am going to get my check-in count up to 22,222 by the end of the year, I can’t afford to not check-in, right? 😉 

  • dwaynekilbourne

    By the way, I used a bit of misdirection while shopping for a gift yesterday; I wonder if my tactic worked or not!

  • dwaynekilbourne

    I agree there too… if you are not worried about check-in tally or mayorships or needing to use a venue-specific 4sq special, you can skip the check-in altogether!

  • dwaynekilbourne

    For as much time I spend checking in on foursquare, I have not taken the time to observe my girlfriend’s check-ins to get an idea what my Christmas gifts will be… hmmm! Then again… I don’t want to ruin the surprise!

  • dwaynekilbourne

    I appreciate your feedback!

  • dwaynekilbourne

    I hope my #4sqTips help out!

  • dwaynekilbourne

    glad to hear!

  • dwaynekilbourne

    I’m with you there… of course, I’d rather check-in off the grid before not checking in at all!

  • dwaynekilbourne

    … or for the entire holiday season for that matter, right?

  • rbeland

    #1 seems like a lot work but good stuff…

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