Last week, Foursquare announced that it would be splitting its popular location app into two: the regular Foursquare app will turn into more of a Yelp-like review and service application, while a new app, Swarm, will be for checking in to locations and viewing where your friends are.
As Foursquare prepares for the launch of Swarm — and the attempt to migrate current users there — they are making changes to their existing app. The biggest change is to the "Mayorship" feature. The mayor of any location is the person who has checked in there the most in the last sixty days. If you hold the mayorship on a location and someone overtakes the number of times you have checked in, you are "ousted" and they become mayor.
On Friday, Foursquare announced on their blog that "starting today, there will be no more ousting of mayors in the Foursquare app...The Foursquare app, for the time being, will continue to show the mayor as of today, frozen in place." That means the list of mayorships you have on your profile right now is stuck like that, possibly forever. That bar all your friends check into that you finally became the mayor of last night? That's yours to hold onto, forever. And ever.
Or at least until Swarm launches. Foursquare's blog post also says that Swarm will be released "next week," though a specific date has not been announced.
The mayorship issue could also cause some problems for businesses that run promotions based on the Mayor feature. Businesses can offer Mayors special perks, like discounts and free products, which encourages more people to check in and creates buzz around the location. The business usage for Swarm has not yet been announced, but it will have to adjust for this.
Swarm will have an adjusted Mayor feature, using the same sixty day window. However, instead of being the mayor of every single Foursquare user that checks into a location, you become the Mayor amongst your friends who go to that location. Foursquare explained this decision: "You and your friends can compete for the mayorship of your favorite bar, without having to worry about the guy who is there every. single. day."
While that is an understandable decision, there was always something great about being the person who is there every. single. day. and getting a little digital crown as a reward for it.