As someone who crosses the border between San Diego and Tijuana regularly, it’s a geeky delight to win back the mayorship of the U.S.-Mexico Border Crossing at San Ysidro Port of Entry on Foursquare. Of course, there will be no discounts or special rewards offered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. But it’s still useful to share with friends, and if anything, it’s a fun novelty. (Update: A day after posting this, @dr_chuy regained the mayorship.)
When I started using Foursquare, there were no border crossing venues. I added locations at both the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa ports of entry. But soon after, I was ousted by more frequent crossers who joined Foursquare.
The border is a complicated place in terms of politics, culture, economics, language and cell signals. It should be no surprise that Foursquare check-ins are also messy. There’s no address at the international line between the U.S. and Mexico. There is an address for the customs office, but that location doesn’t jive with GPS data when people wait in line to cross. In this confusion, people have added a number of redundant venues. There are currently two with nearly identical check-in totals (at the moment).
Foursquare Check-in Totals at the U.S.-Mexico Border
- US/Mexican Border: 285 people, 437 check-ins
- U.S.-Mexico Border Crossing at San Ysidro Port of Entry: 143 people, 429 check-ins
- International Border San Diego, CA ( USA and Mexico ): 115 people, 140 check-ins
- US-Mexico Border: 38 people, 42 check-ins
- US-Mexico border fence: 30people, 31 check-ins
- US/Mexico border: 8 people, 10 check-ins
The venue containing “San Ysidro Port of Entry” in the title has twice as many check-ins per person as does the generic “US/Mexican Border.” I suspect it’s a case of locals vs tourists. I guess we’ll have to wait and see which venue becomes the dominant choice for border check-ins.
(And yes, that Border Crossing badge is fake. I mocked up a few different versions like Coyote and Illegal Alien, but decided to keep it a bit more subtle. If you know anyone at Foursquare, let them know I’m happy to provide additional feedback about improving border check-ins.)