Foursquare Burnout

Monday, May 23, 2011
About a year ago, I began using Foursquare, a location-based social media app. Foursquare allows you to "check-in" to businesses to allow your friends to see where you are and vice versa. Secondly, you can earn "badges" for certain check-ins and mayorships for frequent check-ins.

When I first started using Foursquare, I was hooked on the high of unlocking badges. It was fun, and you never knew when you'd unlock your next badge. Then I discovered a few Web sites which disclosed information on exactly how to unlock badges. The thrill was still there, but much of the luster was gone. It's not fun knowing exactly when you'll unlock a badge and exactly how many check-ins it will take to do it. I loved the element of surprise. But now, so many badges are location-specific, making it impossible for the average user to unlock them.

In addition to unlocking badges, I enjoyed seeing where friends were popping up, both in my area and in other cities and states. I liked seeing where people were eating, where people were shopping, and where people were visiting. What started to annoy me were the play-by-play checkins. If you are a Foursquare user, I'm sure you know the type. They checkin at their house, their car, their street, the road they are driving on, the gas station, the convenience store, the grocery store, a friend's house. etc. It was all, well, too much for me to take.

So, I started backing off on my own checkins. No one needs to know everywhere I go, right? And, more importantly, who really cares? Plus, I realized that everytime I walked into a business, I must have looked ridiculous fumbling for my BlackBerry so that I could hurry up and checkin.

Frequent checkins mean mayorships. Being a mayor means...well, I don't quite know. It should mean that you get discounts or freebies, but you don't. So, I was left asking myself, why am I advertising that I am always at a business if I am getting nothing for it? So, I stopped checking in and therefore, stopped the free advertising.

As with any location-based app, there's the question of security. How safe it is to show my exact location at the exact time I am there? So, I started checking in to locations as I was leaving. But what is the point of doing that? Why checkin after I've been and gone?

So, what did I decide? Well, I'm not ready to give up Foursquare just yet. I do like to see where my friends are spending their time (and their money). But I don't need to checkin everywhere I go, and in fact, I actually enjoy not checking in everywhere. It's a time suckage. I will be checking in at social media events, when I go on vacation or when I am daytripping. My day to day checkins will be fewer, unless I am feeling compelled to checkin on any particular day.

I don't need to add Foursquare to an aleady long list of personal burnouts. Slow and steady.

Do you use Foursquare? If so, are you an addict? What do you like most about it? Least?

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