I was just on a trip this past weekend with a friend who religiously used Foursquare. Now, I am not saying every 5 minutes he was checking his new LAT/LONG coordinates, but when we changed venues, he wasted no time pulling out his mobile device to check in and get his points and potential badges....yes, badges. Nothing magically fell out of the sky for him to proudly pin to his chest, but he was quite proud nonetheless.
I have been hearing about this Foursquare and certainly been wondering why my old boss keeps ousting the Mayor of his local Post Office. I certainly know how easily one can get caught up in these social media games. I mean I lost much of my recovery time a couple years ago to Zynga. Thank God I decided to go to school as it forced me to quit. It was like a drug. I just could not get enough prizes each holiday so I could redesign my three farms. But there was still a lot of anonymity there. You were only friends with who you wanted to be friends with and others, if you let them come and marvel or do slave labor so they could try to be as cool as you, only knew you in the imaginary world. It is not like they could hop in their car and come introduce themselves to you in person. Which in many cases could be pretty scary.
Foursquare has a lot of the same rewards that drive you to want to participate more and more...some are just virtual bragging rights, but I just read an article in CIO magazine how companies use Foursquare to give discounts to customers. One example that was discussed was American Express - check in at some stores or restaurants and you pay with your AMEX and you will get an instant discount. I mean, any discount is pretty cool but if I was in line behind some Y-gen buying the same top (because I just cannot let go of my youth) and we both paid with AMEX but she paid 20% less, I would be pretty pissed. The poor clerk who have to weather one of my Irish/Italian temper flare ups would be likely pissed too. Here I am speaking in a "frustrated tone" (some accuse me of yelling but it is just a more stern tone), and she is telling me if I would just get with the times and "check in" like anyone else who is in the least bit tech savvy does, I too could reap the rewards and maybe even get to be Mayor someday.....but then everyone would know I am still shopping at one of those teenie bopper shops and we just cannot have that.
It is still this whole idea about people knowing where you are. Something about it still gives me the heebee gee bees. I mean, I only just started using Twitter and I barely use Facebook so perhaps I am not the best one to judge it. I guess I just wonder exactly how connected do we need to be and why do i get punished with no discount from AMEX though i am a loyal customer, just because i did not want to broadcast to the world where I was. Is tweeting and texting and emailing at practically time from practically any place enough.
And talk about the impact on businesses. When our friend checked in at each restaurant, comments about that restaurant instantly came up....thank goodness they were good or I would have looked like the idiot who did not do the proper research to find us some good eats. Imagine how easy it is now to tank a place that has bad service. It could really impact how we as consumers well, consume.
So for now, I am just not quite there to jump into the Foursquare mix....I mean, I did not see a "Queen of the World" badge and surely everyone knows that would go right to me anyhow. Plus,I don't want to have to keep track of where I have to go if I am going to stay on top....my competetive nature would just feed on this environment and suddenly that time I thought I was getting back with school done would now be launched into my campaign to get all th badges and rule all areas I could. I think that could be bad all around. I will just remain anonymous and go out with my friends who have taken the dive so they can tell me if the place is any good or not.
What do you all think about whole idea of telling everyone where you are all the time....am I missing out on something truly valuable?