We are living in the era of the smartphone. We literally carry a  handheld computer with us everywhere we go. We can tweet and retweet, post pictures, videos and statuses to Facebook, and browse MySpace (Yeah, like anyone does that anymore!), all from our phone. Now, we are also able to update friends and family on our location via FourSquare.

FourSquare is a location-based social networking site. Once you sign up, you can “check-in” to different locations. If you choose, you can have your location updates posted directly to Facebook, so that your friends can know where you are. Some might ask: Why? What is the purpose of this? Well businesses think they know the answer. Many are already capitalizing on this brilliant idea. Some restaurants/bars offer specials for people who:

1. Come to their restaurant


2. Post their location to FourSquare.

For example, Fox and Hound (a bar and grill with several Memphis locations) offers 1/2 priced appetizers to any customers that “check-in”. This is FREE advertising for their business. Not only is it free, it happens to be the BEST type of advertising: word-of-mouth. In addition to specials, you can also achieve “badges” for checking in to certain establishments.

A word of caution, however. You should always exercise caution when giving away your location to the public. You should always be with a group and in a safe location.

Social media is taking over the world. It’s inevitable. Many businesses have accepted this and are attempting to cash in on the growing trend.