From time to time, I don’t mind informing others where I am in the world, especially if it’s on the other side of the planet, or somewhere which some of my friends would be envious of, such as a theme park…
In comparison, some of my good friends tag themselves in various locations on a daily basis, including train stations, the hotel they’re staying at or all the pubs on a night out. There are even a couple of people from school who are quite happy to publicise where they live on social media, not something I would ever consider doing personally.
At this point, you may think that I get a little bit irritated with people frequently stating where they are or who they’re with. But it’s your profile, and generally you can post what you want, provided that it’s within the rules. In addition, tagging that you’re at the football probably isn’t going to be offensive, unless you support a rival of course, and if I do believe that someone is stating where they are too often, I can easily hide the post, edit viewing settings or delete the contact. I sometimes shake my head with the home address issue though. Why do you want to pass private information to hackers or potentially help to write the script of another Bourne movie?
We probably wouldn’t be talking about this subject though had Facebook not introduced its Places feature in 2010, which has always been very easy to use in my experience and now also allows users to publish where they are and who they’re with as part of a status update. But Foursquare, which was launched just over a year earlier in March 2009, and is now used by over ten million people at least once a month, continues to hold its own in the crowded social media marketplace. Personally, this is due to the fact that it was the first social network to consider location as a motive for posting content, and also because of the emphasis placed on competition when checking in. Finally, I also seem to recall, although I could be wrong, that Foursquare was the first of the social networks which allowed users to automatically share content on similar websites, including Facebook and Twitter.
In summary, Foursquare has successfully managed to combine check ins with competition, by awarding badges for completing tasks and mayorship’s for the user that has been to a location more than anyone else in the previous sixty days. However, whilst their growth so far is admirable, it’s difficult to identify at present where future success will come from. But because of how long they’ve managed to survive so far, they’re not a fad. This term should be reserved for other things, including micro scooters, yo yo’s and Pokemon.