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Foursquare goes to the 'Jersey Shore'

New partnership with MTV Networks and its over-the-top reality shows highlights a new premium feature of Foursquare: the ability for celebrities to use it as promotion.

DJ Pauly D, MTV superstar and new Foursquare power user.
DJ Pauly D's Foursquare profile

We already knew that in the heated battle among location-based social-networking start-ups, Foursquare already had Ashton Kutcher on its team. Turns out it also has "Jersey Shore" star "DJ Pauly D," one of a handful of MTV and VH1 celebrities who are featured in a new marketing campaign that MTV Networks has inked with the pumped-up Foursquare.

(Serious question: Has this start-up jumped the shark already?)

The partnership tests a new kind of Foursquare account known as "Celebrity Mode," in which a prominent Foursquare user (ahem, Ashton) can choose to share "check-ins" and location with either real-life friends or with fans. For DJ Pauly D (real name Paul DelVecchio), the first MTV Networks "celebrity" to pilot this feature, he could choose to publicly share the locations of nightclubs where he's DJing or movie theaters where he's showing up to a premiere. Additionally, the "tips" that have been added by celebrities to the Foursquare directory are visible to all followers rather than just personal friends.

We've asked Foursquare whether this will eventually be a special account that people can pay for.

"Celebrity Mode is a modified version of the standard Foursquare model which allows users to 'follow' a celebrity and lets high-profile users to choose whether check-ins are sent to inner-circle friends or to both friends and followers," a release explained. "Foursquare users can also view tips that the celebrities they are following have left behind at places all over the world."

Soon, this Celebrity Mode partnership will be rolling out with the stars of other MTV Networks reality shows, like "The Hills," "The City," and "The Real World: New Orleans." There's a legitimate reason to think that it could help Foursquare gain some mainstream traction: remember, Twitter was a hit with geeks several years ago, but didn't start to break into the real world until celebrities like Kutcher and Oprah Winfrey started using it and spreading the word.

Already, Foursquare has signed deals with entertainment brands like Bravo TV, but its close competitor Gowalla has also been snapping them up with the likes of the Travel Channel. The two start-ups were in fierce competition for the limelight at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSWi) earlier this month, and after the annual digital-culture fest ended, there still wasn't a clear winner.