We know what the nay-sayers have to say about foursquare: “you’re letting everyone know you’re out of your house, and you’re going to be robbed,” “why would anyone care that you’ve gone grocery shopping,” and “I just don’t get it.”

That’s always what I heard when foursquare was just starting. The best part, though, is this perception has changed a lot, thanks to 2011.

15 million users as of this past december, the last 5 million of which, came in the 2nd half of the year proves not only are more people using smartphones, but that they’re also seeing the value from social media as a whole, and especially foursquare, a social media of its own kind.

Maybe it’s reflective that people in this decade want more than Facebook, and are now drawn to different platforms. Maybe it’s similar to how Facebook and Twitter users want to highlight everything about themselves, and foursquare allows them to do this in a unique and exciting way. Or maybe it’s just another way for us, as business people, or fans of brands, to promote what we love (or are paid to love).

No matter what it really is, however, it’s up to us, the pros of foursquare, to use it smart and to show the newbies the way too. foursquare is a tool that lets the places in our backyards become an open community, so as the user base will continue to grow in the coming months, we need to remember this. Just like we need to use foursquare more than ever now because as the tide has clearly changed on how the world sees foursquare, we need to convince our newly joined friends that it’s worth sticking around on too.

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