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Are You Ready to Check in to a Life Less Social?

6 Mar

Foursquare-stickerHow times have changed.

It wasn’t so long ago that I used to check in on Foursquare everywhere I went, to an almost obsessive-compulsive degree.

The supermarket, the gas station, the post office, my home, every store I shopped at in the mall, T stops, my parents’ apartment, my friends’ houses … if it was on Foursquare, I’d check in there right away. And if it wasn’t, then I’d create a place or find somewhere close by to check in to.

I was a stalker’s dream.

But now, I hardly check in at all. Only when there’s a mayorship I need to maintain, or it’s a particularly interesting place (like a movie or a good restaurant or a special event).

Otherwise, checking in to the same places all the time — whether it’s an office, gym, coffee shop, or whatever — isn’t all that exciting anymore. And more important, no one really needs to know (or, if I’m being honest, cares) where I am at all times. Continue reading

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5 Reasons Why I Still Use Foursquare

6 Aug

When it first hit the scene in 2009, Foursquare was the next big thing in social media.

Instead of telling people you did something or went somewhere, now you could say where you were at that very moment, and if your friends were close by, they could meet you there. If you went to a place often enough, you could be its Mayor, or you could earn other badges or perks.

It was Location: The Game, and it was meant to be fun for users and beneficial for businesses too, because the more people used Foursquare and shared their location, the more they’d promote businesses, and that word of mouth would drive more customers.

But location-based gaming apps in general never really and truly caught on like they were supposed to. There was a major competitor — Gowalla — but it was purchased by Facebook in December 2011 and promptly killed. Facebook itself tried to get into the game with Places, but then had second thoughts and folded the ability to check-in and tag yourself at a place into the rest of the site. And SCVNGR barely even made it out of the gate (it has since moved into mobile payments with its LevelUp service).

There have even been other kinds of check-in apps — like GetGlue, which lets you check in to TV shows, movies, and music — but they haven’t had much traction either.

That’s basically left Foursquare as the only location-based check-in game in town. And yet, despite the perceived limited appeal of such apps, and lots of people who don’t feel safe revealing their whereabouts, three years later Foursquare still claims more than 20 million users, who have checked in more than 2 billion times (and counting).

That’s not too shabby.

So who are these people who still use Foursquare and check in all over the place? Well, I’m one of them — and have been for more than two years, as the app recently reminded me.

Friends often make fun of me for checking in so often, and ask me why I do. So I thought I’d answer them with this blog post, and share those reasons with you too.

Here are the 5 reasons I’m still using Foursquare: Continue reading

No Perks, No Power … No Point?

27 Sep

I became the mayor of another place on Foursquare yesterday, and again, when that crown badge showed up on my iPhone screen, I thought it’d be accompanied by an explosion of confetti, balloons raining down on me, flashing lights, fanfare, a banner unfurling from the ceiling with my name on it, applause from the other customers, and the manager of the store rushing over to congratulate me on the achievement.

Alright, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration (maybe??), but after the smile went away from my face, and I was done mentally patting myself on the back, and I realized there wasn’t any benefit to being the mayor, the same reaction I always have set in: So what? Continue reading

Social Media Sure Is Delicious

25 Aug

I don’t in any way pretend to be a social media expert.

Sure, I’m an active user of Facebook and Twitter, I have a blog, and now I’ve even started checking in everywhere on Foursquare.

And sure, some people I work with think I’m an expert.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned when it comes to social media, it’s that nobody knows anything (to borrow the phrase from William Goldman), and we’re all making it up as we go along.

So I’ll let other people label themselves as social media gurus, experts, ninjas, or whatever word they’re using these days. Me, an expert? I’m not ready for that kind of label just yet.

That all said, I really do enjoy social networking. Continue reading