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New location app a boon for Charlotte business? Check in, even become mayor with FourSquare (access required)

By Austin Light CHARLOTTE — FourSquare, a location-based game/application on the Internet, came to Charlotte in late November as part of a 21-city expansion. The application is being billed by some, including CLT.blog and local social media strategist Jason Keath, as the next Twitter, or at least the next application to see Twitter-like success. The difference? Twitter asks people what they’re doing, whereas FourSquare asks people where they are — and where they are could have an impact on local businesses. The application works like this: Users create a FourSquare account at FourSquare.com, then use the online, iPhone or text message application to “check in” at various locations in the city. Users are encouraged to leave details about the place they are checking in, like the best dish to order at a certain restaurant, or a special deal at a local clothing store. Users earn points and badges for a variety of things: checking in at multiple spots in a day, checking in at the same spot several days in a row, etc. The user with the most check-ins at a particular location is declared its “mayor.”

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