January 22, 2012

The annual foursquare roundtrip

At the beginning of each year I renew my checkin ritual with foursquare. Each year I hope they have found a reason for me to checkin. Each year to date I've been disappointed.

... and this year was no different.

2011 continued the gamification of foursquare. While I annually hope for an economic reason to use foursquare, this year foursquare decided that competition would keep me motivated to use their service. And for a few days it did. I valiantly tried to check into more places than my friends on the service, only to determine that foursquare primarily rewards checking into new places. Great for travelers; bad for the majority of us who have a daily routine within fifteen miles of our homes.

I like the addition of competition, but it is still icing on a hollow cake. foursquare doesn't help me with the fundamentals. It doesn't improve my interaction with friends and it doesn't create a tighter economic bond between the businesses I frequent and myself. For better or worse, groupon does a far better job creating an economic reason for me to visit local businesses. Perhaps a reactive economic model of offering me discounts for places I've already committed to visit isn't viable, but foursquare and other checkin services have to find a better way to both proactively and reactively entice me to visit nearby businesses. And better facilitate me interacting with nearby friends.

So today I stopped foursquare checkin and add it to my 2013 todo list.

As a footnote, I'm still trying to figure out how Jenn Winger gets the checkin score she does. She regularly has 2-3x the checkin score of my other friends. I guess that is what makes her a social maven?!

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