Does it make sense for local companies to invest resources into Foursquare?After receiving many questions about the location-based social networking service, which now has 4 million users, I embarked on a three week personal and unscientific experment in search of an answer. Checking in at every opportunity I managed to form a few impressions. I was impressed when, at Holland Village, the network realized my location and pushed to me a good friend's recommendation to visit Wala Wala for better than average wings and happy hour beer prices. Pretty cool, especially considering that I consider myself as a wings connoisseur. This happened again today at Raffles City when a tip from another friend suggested I go by Starbucks for a cuppa joe and the free wi-fi. Not bad! But every coin has two sides. Such recommendatiosn have appeared only twice in three weeks (despite many check-ins). Additionally, these tips were not enough to pry the hard-earned money from my hand. Maybe more importantly, the overwhelming majority of tips (in my personal opinion) offered no useful advice. "Mmmm…yummy" or "I love this place" are two simple examples. What should I buy that is yummy or what about the place do you specifically love? In another recent example a user shared a tip which was nothing more than a frustrated rant about how much they dislike SMU students who were seated in the Coffee Bean. Tips written in this fashion make Foursquare less-than-useful to users, and thus of little value to organizations. Second, I also noticed that after Foursquare reset itself on Sunday night, within a couple hours many users had checked in to 30-50 locations and run up hundreds of points. All within a couple hours? I have delayed writing this post as I looked for alternate explanations, but to the best of my ability it appears we have a portion of users who simply want to compete for points and ranking. Again, this adds no value to another user's experience. So when I combine my observations–unhelpful tips combined with a race to earn points and ranking–I see a social network lacking a mature ecosystem capable of delivering a useful or meaningful location-based experience. The idea behind Foursquare and its potential are awesome, but the reality appears to fall short after my committed yet unscientific experiment. I will keep an eye on this network in the future. I love the idea of a location-based social network and truly hope the ecosystem matures. But at the moment, I would be hard-pressed to recommend that an organization invest its precious resources into Foursquare. Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter make a whole lot more sense in Singapore.