Aug 11 2010
My job takes me over a fairly large geographic area on a daily basis, combined with lots of quick stops at various points.
After having recently seen a few friends posting Foursquare updates on Facebook, I decided that I’d install it on my iPhone and give it a shot. Perhaps adding a level of social networking to my job would make my day go a little faster if nothing else.
I’m still undecided if it’s actually interesting, or completely pointless.
Yes, there are goals - I’ve already become “Mayor” of several locations - the fact that I cover similar geographic areas 5 days a week, often returning to the same customers over and over again makes the “Check In” system ideal for me as I’m guaranteed to be back again after I visit a location. Whereas others covet their Mayorship of their local coffee joint, I’m easily picking up leading roles at many other businesses. Virtual “Badges” are rewarded for completing certain goals so there is some incentive to check-in repeatedly, and if you check in more then anyone else, you become Mayor.
Most locations are valid - businesses, fast food outlets, venues of every sort - but there are an annoying array of junk locations. Sorry, I don’t think that “Nicks Pad” or “Intersection of Simcoe and Taunton roads” really add anything to the system. An local highway exit ramp has it’s own location. Garbage.
In the end it seems much less like social networking and more like a big virtual game. I suppose if you are in a busy urban area, or looking to socialize with others from Foursquare it has potential, but for the average user it seems to be all about the race to become mayor of as many locations as possible (and defend such) as well as collecting badges. It also seems the system is rife with abuse based on observations of certain areas where every single location is held by one mayor.
I suspect as the weeks wear on I’ll quickly loose interest as I have with many other social networking applications like Waze and Gowalla. Who knows. In the meantime, I’ve got a few Mayorships to defend.