Since the release of Places for Facebook (you know, the super-cool new feature of Facebook where you can tell all your friends exactly where you are with maps and such?), there has been a flurry of discussion about what the emergence of Facebook within the realm of geolocation means for other, more established services like Foursquare.  Some have predicted that Facebook, with its 500-million+ user base, will quickly rise to prominence out of sheer mass, crushing other services in its massive wake.  Others–myself included–have argued that other location-based services can survive by focusing their efforts, refining their services, and looking for strategic ways to deliver amazing content and services in a more agile manner than the behemoth Facebook.

In the midst of the conversation and debate, however, the predominant view has been to see the discussion as one of Facebook vs. Foursquare (or Gowalla, or Britekite, or whoever else).  While there are certainly valid points in this line of thinking, let me offer some ideas on Facebook and Foursquare living in harmony, or at least occupying relevant spaces in individual users’ smart back pockets.

How Do We Get to the “And”

The key to finding the “and” is to keep in mind the value and purpose of each service.  Here are a few strategies that I have found helpful in navigating this issue.

It’s a Game: With Foursquare, keep it a game, and keep your checkins within the game.  Don’t publish each and every checkin to work or home to Facebook and Twitter.  No one cares, and they will only block you from their feeds because you have made yourself irrelevant.  If you are traveling to an interesting location, checkin with Foursquare and share it to FB and Twitter–an interesting checkin will prompt your friends’ interest and comments and keep their news-feed-blocking-scorn at bay.

Keep it Meaningful: With Facebook Places, save your check-ins for meaningful family gatherings or memorable meetups with your friends.  Or, if you’re heading out to get coffee, do a quick check-in with an invitation for friends to join.  The purpose of Places, after all, is not to score points or track your every move…it’s to facilitate memories and meaningful social history with people you know and care about.

Find the Balance: For me, this “and” looks something like this. Wherever I go, I’m going to checkin to Foursquare.  I want points, badges and mayorships–as many as I can get.  For the vast majority of these checkins, I WON’T publish to Facebook or Twitter; I’ll keep it in Foursquare.  With Places, however, I’m going to save my check-ins for meaningful occasions.  If I’m at King’s Island with my family, I’ll check-in.  If I’m at a concert with friends, I’ll check-in and tag them.  Pretty simple.  It’s not a hard and fast rule, but it’s a decent guideline to keep me from becoming an annoying double-check-in-er.

Wrapping Up

To me, the key to finding the “and” with Foursquare and Facebook Places is all about using the services as they’re meant to be used.  I don’t think that either is trying to be “better” than the other; rather, properly seen, they are simply unique services that just-so-happen to occupy space within the realm of a particular technology.  If we take this perspective, I think there’s plenty of room for both in our social-media lives.