I just killed Foursquare. I went down to the pawn shop and bought a big buck knife; then came home, donned camouflage face paint, jumped off of my couch and landed on my phone – slamming the knife down with both hands. Then I held my head up high and twisted the knife around inside of the heart of the application. And it was over. And it was good.
Foursquare is officially dead to me. I’m done with ‘checking in.’ I’m done with swapping mayorships with the dude who lives in his mom’s basement near the Dunkin Donuts where I get my morning coffee. I’m done with badges, points, and ads that pass themselves off as coupons. I don’t like coupons.
I also don’t like being controlled by things, and over the last two years I’ve somehow become conditioned to ‘check in’ every time I go anyplace. It’s ridiculous. So this morning I removed the Foursquare app from my phone and all of its tentacles from my other social media outlets. I will ‘check in’ no more.
Look, I don’t hate Foursquare. I think it’s a data goldmine that they haven’t figured out how to take advantage of, yet. It’s a genius business model for data mining. Think about it – they know exactly where you go to consume stuff, at what time, with whom, and at what frequency. Dude, that’s pure gold that you’re giving to them. And for what, exactly? Swarm badges? Please.
When we first got Foursquare in Charlotte, I was all serious about it. Here’s my Foursquare page (actually, if you click this link you will be taken to a ‘couldn’t find this page’ page because Foursquare deleted it for me this morning because of this post.) It didn’t take long, however, for me to start thinking about how ridiculous it was. I was helping a company populate its database so that I could push my ‘check ins’ to my social streams and look cool for using the newest social media toy. I didn’t care if someone I knew was at the same place as me. I didn’t care about points. I didn’t care about badges or mayorships. So why was I still doing it after a couple of years? I was doing it because I conditioned myself to to look down at my iPhone and let Foursquare know where I was while I waited for my Mexican takeout to be wrapped up. I was acting like a minion. Maybe you don’t know me, but I’m cool enough without Foursquare. Besides, there are other ways to announce where I’m located – if it’s that important. Guys who push their airport ‘check ins’ to their social media streams are seeking validation as they sit alone in the cold, indifferent corridors of transient space while waiting for a ride somewhere. Foursquare is Pavlov and we’re the dog. I hate being conditioned like that by anything. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to let a fucking smartphone app have that kind of control over me.
So I terminated Foursquare. With extreme prejudice. After all, I have been itching to reduce my social media footprint lately. For the record, I’m basically down to a few core services:
Twitter: Though I’m using this less and less, and definitely different than a few years ago, Twitter is a place for me to share randomness and serendipity. Sometimes news. Sometimes my blog posts. And yes, to connect with others in real time. I still love that about Twitter.
Facebook: I know it’s not cool, but I like Facebook. Yes, I realize that they have all this data on us that the are legally allowed to do whatever they want with (they’re not the government, after all) – but I like the medium. Their privacy controls are fine. If you don’t want them to know everything, don’t give them everything. Anyway, to me Facebook is an encapsulated little community of people I trust. I share more of my life there than anywhere else. And not one person who is connected with me there is a member of my family. Except for my wife. My friends are my family.
Linkedin: But only for business reasons. I believe that Linkedin is a networking superstore that all businesses should use daily.
Google+: But only because Google owns search. If not for that, I’d kill G+ like I killed Path after a week.
Instagram: Yes, I was skeptical at first, but I like it now. Though I have no problem with sharing regular (non-filtered) pictures directly on Twitter and Facebook. However, the cross posting thing in Instagram is valuable – as is having a portfolio to reference. I also like not having to search through a timeline (FB) or stream (Twitter) to find a picture.
That’s about it. Because I’m in business, I’ll continue to monitor the various other social media channels that come online – and I’ll continue to let everyone else invest their time and energy into vetting them. Yes, I’m confident that there will be things that come along which eventually supplant the stuff I use now (change is inevitable), but right now this is my core. A core that no longer includes Foursquare. Though I can’t help but wonder how this will affect my Klout score. (I’m kidding. Please, don’t even get me started on Klout.)