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Foursquare: Why I’m into Checking in

October 16, 2011

The first part of success is just showing up.

I like Foursquare. Not a lot of people do.

A survey from Pew Research Center in September found that just 5% of adult smartphone users <raising hand> are into checking-in to locations with services such as Foursquare and Gowalla.. The rate for all smartphone users is 12%. And that makes geosocializing the least popular smartphone activity with services such as Foursquare and Gowalla—even less popular than talking to your mother.

I don’t know why the vast majority of adult and adult-like people don’t like geosocializing, but I’ll tell you why I do.

  1. It’s an easy way to find what i’m looking for and see special offers
  2. It’s not a time suck
  3. It’s something I can “win” at

Foursquare is just one tool i can use to find a cup of coffee or post office or whatever near my present location. And checking “tips” is a great way to decide what to order in a new (to me) restaurant. Special offers are attached to the listing for fast access.

But what I like best is having a higher score than my friends. There’s a competitive component to much of social media—having the most friends, being the first to tweet or comment on something, getting more thumbs up for your reviews—and I’m as competitive as anyone else in the blogosphere or bar room. I’m not great at darts or pool or cornholing or other games. I am great at trivia, but it’s a skill that people find more annoying than admirable (like knowing big words).

The truth is: it’s always nice to win. Something. Anything. It’s a better stress reliever than chocolate. Foursquare is one thing i can ‘win.’ I do go places. In fact with relocating to Chicago and a bunch of recent trips, I’ve been to lots of new places which roll up my Foursquare check-in score without much effort. I’m a mayor in a few or 3 places too.

They say a big part of success is just showing up. Outscoring peers on Foursquare proves that.

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