4sq and how to use it in Russia

Well, I'm a big fan of Foursquare.com myself and even a superuser of level 2 (which means I moderate the community for free to make it clean and nice for everybody). 

So I can introduce it as a nice tool to find new places (or interesting people) in every country, including Russia. It's free service for everyone.

If you have no time to read the whole article right now, here you are:
- my list of nice places to eat in St. Petersburg (with map)
- the same for Moscow

For the start (if you've been away from the mobile IT market for a couple of years): foursquare.com is huge worldwide project from NY which helps you:
1)  to find interesting spots around you;
2)  to find out what exactly you wanted to see in this location
3) to check where do your friends spend their time;
4) to help out others by leaving "tips" (recommendations) or photos of venues.

So, the first step would be either download the app for your smartphone (you already travel with it, right?), either open the website itself. I'll be easier if you open account there.

Now you see how many venues (cafes, parks, shops, museums etc.) are there around you. What to do next?

1) You need to find something nice around.

Open your app (or use "explore" option on the website):

- "check in" option shows you the nearest venues
- "explore" option helps you to dig something with a variety of filters

2) You want to plan your trip or just explore a bit and have some awareness of what you will see and do.

- again, do use "explore" on the website thinking of a city you're going to visit. Add venues you may like into your "to-do" list (Save option). Once you're there, open your to-do list (there's also a map there) and enjoy. Later you can create more lists for yourself and name them (NY spots, Moscow spots).

- search for lists in advance. As I mentioned above, there is a possibility to create lists of venues which are visible to others users. Use that feature because there are many people who know their city quite good (and you even don't have to ask them, just look at their lists).

- read tips if you can. Some people leave tips in their mother language, some do that in english, some - both. Anyway, first look through tips and try to find english ones. There are a lot even in russia. If there is nothing understandable, here are two tricks I use. 1) If there are many check-ins and a lot of tips, the place is probably well-known around young people. That means it's not as creepy as it could be. 2) If the place is included into various lists (you can see that from the page of venue), people want to remember it to come next time. Probably the food or atmosphere is nice.

- watch photos. Though many people take photos of themselves for any reason, foursquare has many users' pics with interior and food. You can say if it's vegan place or burger rest by watching what did people eat there.

3) You want to share your experience with others.

As we saw earlier, you can leave for others the same that helped you to choose. That would be:
- tips
- photos
- lists

Foursquare is a community with nice founders, neat moderators and lively atmosphere. I think you'll like being the part of it.

And one last advice for now. 
Whenever you find interesting person writing nice tips on foursquare, go friend him! 
Chances are you'll find some interesting spots every time you check what is he doing now (in the "friends" tab). And if you come to the city where he spends time, foursquare will advice his fav spots to you on the recommendation basis. Making friends is useful, isn't it?

Thanks for reading,
Elena (and that is my 4sq profile)

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