City of Minneapolis joins Foursquare

The social networking site Foursquare recently signed up a new user -- the city of Minneapolis.

The city hopes to use the location-based site to connect residents to local government. It unveiled its Foursquare account today.

For those not in the know, here's how the site works. You can "check in" to a location on Foursquare (like a city agency or, more commonly, a business) and see other people's comments and add your own. The owner of a location can also post "tips" and offer deals to users who check in at their location.

If you check in to a Minneapolis high school on Foursquare, you'll see a tip encouraging you to sign up for the city's STEP-UP summer jobs program. If you check in to City Hall, you'll see tips about city council meetings. And if you check in at a dog park or certain pet stores, you'll get a reminder to license your pet.

City spokesperson Matt Lindstrom says the city plans to add more locations and tips for residents.

Minneapolis appears to be the first city government in the state with its own official Foursquare page. Lindstrom says he's aware of a handful of other participating city governments around the country, including Austin, Texas.

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The city already has Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts. The Minneapolis Snow Emergency site on Facebook has proved to be the most popular. At last check, it had 18,652 "likes."

It's seems unlikely the city's Foursquare site will attract that kind of web traffic anytime soon. Only 35 people have "checked in" to the Minneapolis City Hall in the last 60 days and there are only a handful of tips/comments. They include tips for the best vending machines and a post from a user named Jason S., who left the following recommendation on March 11, 2011:

Try to have an interaction with any of the ghosts that walk these halls. There's three that we know of.