Digital Marketing and Social Media Strategy

Checking out of checking in

Last week I read a short post on Gigaom by Om Malik, who admitted to Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley to getting bored of checking in so often.

The grand vision aside, I told Dennis that he has a problem – even hardcore users and fans like me are getting bored with Foursquare and finding it hard to constantly check-in. As the number of folks on the Foursquare network has grown (over 2 million), it has become virtually impossible to get mayorship of any location. From a personal experience, my daily usage of Foursquare has dropped down to a handful of check-ins every day.

I must admit that I’ve been feeling the same lately. I love using location based services (LBS) at geek conferences like SXSW and Gnomedex, but when I’m home in Nashville, I’m forgetting to do it as often as I did.

Gowalla use to be interesting to me, because I liked the idea of geo-tagging virtual items. It was fun to pick up and drop objects, especially looking at where the objects originated. It was like a virtual BookCrossing. But Gowalla changed the user interface on their app and buried that function, so that users don’t seem to use it anymore.

Brightkite released a few months ago. It provides an easy way for users to check-in on Gowalla, Foursquare and Brightkite all at once. But I feel that you miss something by not actually launching each app, perhaps it’s just too easy.

Yelp, to me, is a messy app with too many options, I don’t want to have to use multiple apps to find good restaurants, play games and to check-in. I’d rather have it all under one roof, I’d love to see that roof be Foursquare. There may still be hope for me.

What about you? Do you still like LBSs? Did you ever?

Photo from Flickr by: MariSheibley


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  • Christine

    Timely post. I just “gave up” checking in. Give me something other than badges and I might change my mind.

  • I really do enjoy using LBS when I'm out, the problem I'm running into is that I don't have a smartphone and have to rely on the places I check in at to have Wi-Fi, which is rare. I think there are great avenues of growth for LBS services like Gowalla or Foursquare (the one I use) but those companies have to bring the fun away from simply “checking in” at places. Companies need to get on board and start creating social uses for the services.

    I still have my fingers crossed that they will figure out the most useful applications, but until then I will check in at Borders and McAlister's and just hope for Mayorships soon.

  • I enjoy using Foursquare (when I remember to). I hope as more venue owners and brands embrace this, they will find creative ways to use nearby specials and other programs to encourage the users to interact beyond Mayorships. Beyond the app itself, I think the guys are being smart about building the company for the long term.
    Always great content Dave. I'll be watching that tech calendar!

  • Interesting. So I'm not alone, eh?

  • Thanks Joey. I haven given up either, but I'm growing tired of always checking in.
    I haven't take the Google Latitude step of being always checked in yet. I wonder how many people have.

  • Thanks BJ. I wonder what will happen when all brands are using it. Will we receive so many Nearby Specials that users will choose to opt out?

    I'm picturing my phone suddenly becoming Times Square.

    What do you think?

  • Funny you should say that, we run a nearby special at our Times Square location :) I think over time we'll see some changes to how the specials appear or who they appear to based not only on proximity but on profile information and past activity or behavior. For example why not allow a venue to choose ads to appear to just male or female users?

  • Good point. It's true that the more information a user gives, the better
    targeted advertising and marketing messages will become.
    Just look in your Gmail in-box for an example of that :)

    …and now I'm craving ice cream!

  • I find them relevant and useful when I'm at a conference or attending a local event. You know, when I'm in the mood to socialize. Otherwise, I don't find them very necessary or relevant. Sure, it's fun when you compete amongst friends to claim that one badge and earn bragging rights, but in the end, that kind of gets old.

    I don't check in when I go to my favorite Sushi Restaurant all the time. And I visit often. I don't check in for two reasons: 1.) I don't have to do it ALL the time, 2.) they don't really do anything to encourage you to check-in (I don't expect anything from them, the sushi is good on it's own, but they certainly don't offer an incentive either).

    When I'm at a conference or visiting a new city, I'm all for checking in and meeting with new people. Because it presents an opportunity to meet with fresh new faces.

    Anyway, just my random thoughts/observations on the matter :-)

  • Thanks man. I agree, at conferences and events it's more fun to check-in.

    Oh, and now I'm craving sushi! :)