I am pretty social media conscious. As the president of a mobile social media company you could say it’s my job. But there are still somethings I do not get. Foursquare is one of them. I understand the appeal to businesses on some level. Get users to check in and you can see who shows up when, reward them, and if those people are “influencers” (re:new marketing buzzword of the week) you can build a following. What I don’t understand is the value to the user.
Checking in has never made sense to me. Ever since I was 12 it was something I routinely tried NOT to do. The process at this point seems redundant; why a simple Tweet (a redundancy of Facebook) or status update (which now mirrors tweeting) wouldn’t accomplish the same thing baffles me. But for whatever reason, there are enough people that feel a need to “check in” by broadcasting where they are, hundreds of thousands of times per day.
I still don’t get it.
At all the places I am a “Regular” at – I have never needed to show a “badge” or accumulate “points” or some other BS to get free drinks. Most of the places I like to go are hole in the wall places at the bottom of an abyss somewhere and thus don’t have cell service. In addition, the concept of “mayor” has always struck me as retarded. Example: I downloaded Foursquare to try and figure out what the hype was and noticed that there is one person in my apartment building who is “mayor” of Water Street. Woo Hoo. I can’t tell what pisses me off more (1) the fact that this digital award exists (2) that someone cared enough to check in to their apartment every single time it was possible to win it.
It scares me- are we really becoming a culture that is so self important that we feel compelled to share every thing we do? Like people everywhere will care?
Apparently. 20 million dollars is no small sum of money. Clearly the VC world sees potential in this, at least as an acquisition target even if it never makes money. But I still can’t figure it out.