Colin Charles Agenda

Growing out of Foursquare

It seems like after two years of using Foursquare, I’ve reached check-in fatigue. I’ve written my thoughts before after a year of usage.

Today I don’t turn the app on. I visit places but I can’t be bothered about checking in. If I’m visiting a new place, I might fire up the app to check on reviews. And I will continue using it for the Topguest integration. Beyond that, I can’t imagine why I’d be firing it up.

Some reasons to my lack of continued interest in Foursquare:

In short, I don’t see the value from the application. I know that when I’m in San Francisco I can see value. Budapest surprised me with value again. But generally, it seems like value is tough to come by.

From a merchant standpoint, I’d like more control. If I know people frequent an area, I’d like to tell them about my establishment.

I do find the Explore function quite useful when I’m in a new city or I’m just looking for something to do. Sometimes I use it to gauge the parking situation at certain malls (a 10km radius from where I live covers some rather popular places :P). But it could be more useful again. Let’s say I want to search for the term “pork satay” in a 10km radius. Some people spell things like “sate”. Sometimes there’s no tips. Shops don’t normally label themselves after a food even though that might be their main pull.

Addresses are generally incomplete. Map locations can be wayward. Phone numbers and opening hours are non-existent.

The problem for me is largely dirty data. Foursquare would be a lot more useful if it were edited. And provided to me information, rather than data.

The idea is that dirty data gets fixed via crowd-sourcing. Get your users to do the work for you! Have you seen the lengthy application process to become a Superuser Level 2? Compare that to how easy it is to edit Wikipedia.

There used to be a movement to clean up Foursquare locations in KL. Eventually though, I think the users moved on, found busier jobs, and life took over. Crowd sourcing works; barriers matter.

Facebook and Google are at their primes here. They can win by providing information, rather than data. User generated comments are always useful, but building further filters with a wider network probably helps. Besides, I bet there are more connections on Facebook and more loose connections on twitter and google plus, in comparison to Foursquare for most. Google is already pushing getting merchants online, why not make them also focus on Places?

In the meantime, Foursquare is still on my phone. It’s usage is just severely reduced.