Back home in front of my monitor I watched with dismay as an increasing number of Foursquare tweets spread through my Twitter stream like a kind of cancer.
“I’m at Starbucks.”
“I’m the Mayor of Jack in the Box.”
“I just unlocked the Overshare badge!”
It got so bad that I was honestly grateful for the devious site Please Rob Me — though not actually a threat to anyone’s safety or belongings I thought it might at least scare some people away from polluting the rest of the Internet with their Foursquare links.
But thanks to a little schooling by the inimitable James Whatley, I’ve come to better understand my three major issues with Foursquare and my friends who use it…
Problem the first: Context
Okay, so you’ve checked in at Starbucks, and you’ve felt the need to share that info with me on Twitter or Facebook — or more accurately you’ve probably set up Foursquare to blast your checkins out to wherever. That’s your choice, but unless I’m meeting you there this information is only really relevant to me if you explain why you’re there in the first place.
We’re already Internet friends, which means I’ve already parsed you from the masses of mindless mouth-breathers out there, so you’ve passed the first test. Why not take this opportunity to share just a little bit more? For example, while on the road last week I ended up at Starbucks myself pretty much every morning because the coffee the hotels I stayed at was consistently awful. Are you in the same boat? Or is there some tasty confection that ‘bucks offers in your part of the world that I don’t know about? Such things provide value to an otherwise uninteresting check-box event.
Problem the second: Missed Opportunities
I was largely unaware that shopkeepers in the US an UK are regularly in the practice of handing out rewards to Foursquare users. And as a regular user of almost two weeks I have yet to come across a single Canadian business doing the same.
Until this changes, a big part of Foursquare’s appeal is entirely lost on me.
Problem the third: Modern Life is (mostly) Rubbish
This one’s all about me. I was all over sharing the minutiae of a twice-in-a-lifetime blogger’s dream come true, but back at home I’ve come to realize that my comings and goings are mostly unremarkable. And since there are no local venues savvy enough to capitalize on my loyalty via Foursquare I’ll probably refrain from using it until the circumstances warrant.
Is there a badge for that?