April 04, 2010

Why do I foursquare?

I'm a foursquare user. One of those people who the first thing they do upon entering a building is whip out the phone and madly start checking in. There could be a new iPad lying on the ground right in front of me and I'd miss it in my rush to update status. I use foursquare so much that now I'm the "mayor" of my local gym. Oh yes, I'm probably the heaviest gym "owner" in America, though by far not the heaviest mayor ;-)

So what's it all for? One of these compelling reasons must be driving my/our compulsive foursquare/gowalla/mytown use:

  • You're really excited that a thief is using a mashup of foursquare, gdgt, and eBay to not only know when to rob your house, but what kickass tech gadgets you own and what the total loot haul will be?
  • You're seriously jonesing for the Superstar badge in foursquare, even though it has as much intrinsic value of a square of toilet paper, if even you knew what the badge meant?
  • You believe exposing your fetish for McDonald's nuggets via Mayor"ing" that place will increase your popularity with your female "friends" 10x?
  • You're hoping to get that non-existent discount coupon for your unwavering loyalty to the nuggets?
  • You're hoping that your friends will magically teleport to McDs now that you are there and they know it?

I've realized that foursquare wastes my time in its current form. What I really want is:

  • A service that rewards me for my continued loyalty to local establishments, or entices me to try new ones based on my physical location. Talk about a real game? I want a real-time fight for my dining dollars?! Let Burger King and McDonalds duke it out for my attention as I approach their establishments
  • A service that doesn't tell my friends where I am in that moment, but where I will be so there we can actually get together without defying the laws of physics
  • A service that tells me what is happening around me in that moment, not just a vanity enhancing "I'm here". I want the Thursday Metro's "What's happening" in real-time, anytime. Great, I've told the world I'm at the CalTrain station in SOMA?! Meaningless to me. What's uniquely happening in SOMA in that very moment? Priceless.
  • If I'm going to play a game with Achievements and Scores, I want the game to be fun! Checking in is not fun when the badges are meaningless and the points inconsequential. Battling to be the Mayor is a good step 1 to a game, not the game itself.

Everyone should TRY foursquare, gowalla, myTown, or insert your name here Location Check-in service. Not because value is being created, but because the foundation of value is being laid. I hopeful one of these companies or a couple of new ones (hint, hint, wink, wink) create that value before the novelty of checking in wears off for the masses. Until that value is created, I'm checking out of foursquare.

And that goes for Google Latitude too, or did I say/mean Google for Robbers (beta)?

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