Foursquare and Facebook Places are ubiquitous. Social media butterflies can't seem to resist the urge to broadcast their location online. That's great marketing for a mom-and-pop restaurant, but it could be a big breach of privacy for homeowners and apartment dwellers.
Sharing your address with 10 close friends for an intimate dinner party? No big deal. But when those 10 people each share your address with 500 relative strangers, you might begin to feel concerned about your privacy. Your small dinner party can turn into a 5,000-person broadcast of your private information when you allow friends to "check in" to your home on social media sites.
So how do you prevent your guests from checking in?
These are guests in your home, right? While you, as the host, have the responsibility of making sure they're comfortable and well-fed, they also have an obligation to treat you and your home with respect. So it's nothing for you to ask your guests politely, "Darlings, I'd rather your 548 followers not know where my iPad and I sleep each night. If you can muster the restraint, please don't check in here." Regular guests will get the hint, because if they don't, they won't be regulars any longer.
Hang a Sign
You know those Check in Here!" window clings you see on the door at Starbucks? This is the opposite of that. Apartment Therapy user finnlay128 let us know this was her preferred method in a comment to this post:
I have a sign at my flat that says 'Welcome! Make yourself at home and DO NOT check yourself in!"
It's a good strategy, especially if you're hosting a crowd and don't have time to sit down with each new guest to explain your Foursquare philiosophy.
Delete the Venue
Removing the venue is the most sure-fire way to prevent well-meaning friends from broadcasting your home address with a check-in. And if you're the one who created it, this is an easy one. On Foursquare, just head to your home or apartment's venue page at foursquare.com, click "edit venue" (located below the address), and then click the trash can to remove the venue from FourSquare's database. On Facebook Places, you can click "Edit Page" at the top of your venue's page, then head to "Your Settings" and look for a link that says something like, "Permanently delete this page." Voila!
If you didn't create your home's venue, you can still request it be removed. Both Foursquare and Facebook Places, have "Report a problem" or "Report Place" links that allow you to report that venue as your private residence and request it's data be removed. This method isn't instant, but you should have no trouble shutting down your home's check-in for good.
(Images: Rick Berk via Wikimedia Commons, Foursquare)