If you haven't heard of Foursquare, you're probably over the age of 30.
Foursquare is equal parts restaurant guide, social network and game. Through GPS, users can "check in" to virtually any coffee shop, bowling alley or alternative-weekly newspaper headquarters to compete for "badges." Check in to that location more than anybody else, and you are crowned "mayor." (Just like the position with the city of Tucson, the title holds no real clout.)
I installed the app on my iPhone this weekend and have been charting my progress around Tucson, as I make a half-pathetic attempt to get more badges. (I even became mayor of something: the Circle K gas station on Grant Road and Alvernon Way.) Like with the Boy Scouts, these badges are awarded for accomplishments, like checking in at various places with various frequencies. Unlike with the Boy Scouts, many of the badges involve the consumption of alcohol.
For all of the site's goodwill at getting people to explore their community, there's something about it that's a little, well ... creepy. Foursquare knows where I went last weekend, and how long I was at each location. Furthermore, if you're currently checked in at a location, you can see the names and pictures of the other people who are there with you. What Foursquare plans to do with this data is anyone's guess, but it shows that as long as you make your phone app slick and competitive, people will be more than willing to tell you where they buy coffee, and the time and place when/where they eat lunch.
By the way, if anyone wants to challenge my mayor-ship of the Tucson Weekly offices, you're welcome to try.
The week on the Range
We brought you news of the ending (and the start, and the middle, etc.) of the Sun Tran bus strike; and talked about the biggest local news story of the week: The fact that the Weekly's Facebook page broke the 4,000-fan mark.
As for SB 1070 fallout, we told you about the dumbest Arizona-boycott idea yet: a movement to boycott the Tucson International Mariachi Conference. We also posted a story about how migrants are seeking greener pastures in New Mexico.
On the political scene, we shared a video of the Arizona Illustrated debate between the candidates for Arizona attorney general; presented J.D. Hayworth's grainy anti-McCain attack ad; told you that in a very hypothetical U.S. Senate matchup, former Tucson City Councilmember Rodney Glassman leads J.D. Hayworth in the polls; shared Equality Arizona's endorsement list; presented Wingspan's response to the California Proposition 8 overturn; and got called "liberal media" by Legislative District 30 candidate Ted Vogt after pointing out that he got more campaign donations from people like Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney than actual Arizonans.
For the food beat, we told you about Kwang C. An's plan to open a restaurant at Casino del Sol; caught up with Tucson food ambassador Kim Fox on her world travels; told you about a new brewing-supply store; and got an update on the recent projects from Acacia's Albert Hall.
We also filled you in on the city's dunderheaded plan to slap the Rialto Theatre and Bookmans with sign-code violations because of their wall-sized murals—and showed you a time-lapse video of the new, non-advertise-y mural.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
"I find it ironic that your comments policy precludes the use of obscene or racist comments, yet the writer of (¡Ask a Mexican!) is free to use Spanish profanities and ethnic slurs. Seems like a double standard to me. If the intent of this column is to open eyes, hearts and minds, then I daresay it is headed in the wrong direction."
—TucsonWeekly.com user "hondo," in response to Gustavo Arellano's Aug. 5 column.
BEST OF WWW
After you're done trying to find us on Foursquare, you'll want to check out our new TucsonWeeklyTV video player, which can be found throughout TucsonWeekly.com. Just look on the right-hand side of any of the articles or reviews on our website to watch our latest moving pictures. At last: You can watch and read at the same time! Of course, you can head to TucsonWeeklyTV.com or our YouTube and Vimeo pages to see more than 100 videos (and counting) made by your favorite alt-weekly.
Also this week, Mari Herreras brings us a video TQ&A of her interview with Stephanie Parker of the Aurora Foundation and the disABLED Divaz Fashion Show.