Checking In to Check It Out
After using Foursquare intermittently for the past two years, I decided recently to give it a real shot and check in to my destinations on a consistent basis. There’s lots of people out there doing it, so I figured there must be some value to the service, right?
In reviewing my check in’s over the past couple of weeks, what has become abundantly clear is that if I’m not at work, I’m either drinking or at axe throwing; sometimes simultaneously. Regardless, the timeline of my whereabouts paints a pretty bland picture. Sure, I enjoy doing (two of those three) activities, but what Foursquare fails to capture is the social aspect of it all, despite being classified as a social networking tool.
It’s possible that I just haven’t figured out all of the ins and outs of Foursquare yet, but as best I can tell, even if I was out for drinks with a great group of people and having the time of my life with them, the most I can do upon checking in is leave a “tip” about the venue. I can’t tag all of my friends as being there with me, but I can leave future patrons a helpful note along the lines of:
Try the Whiskey Sour, it’s awesome. Also, this place is great for a night out with friends, like the ones I’m with right now. Really. There’s like 10 of us here laughing and living it up. I swear. I’m totally not here alone, crying into the very Whiskey Sour you MUST try if you come!
I realize I could avoid this frustration by using Facebook’s handy “Check In” tool, which allows me not only to check into a location, but also to comment on it and check my friends in with me, but I resolved to give Foursquare a try and, dammit, I’m a woman of my word.
Anyway, for as one-dimensional as my list of check in’s seems to appear - work, drink, axe, repeat - at least I’m checking into physical places. I cannot for the life of me understand why someone would want to check into a general area, more specifically: Scarborough. Are they just trying to be a tease? Maybe they’re not in Scarborough at all, and just checked themselves in on the drive through to somewhere, anywhere, that isn’t Scarborough. Or, maybe they’re visiting a clandestine lover. Who knows! (Though, the lover story might make the most sense as I don’t believe you can actually check in, inside someone). My point is, if you’re going to use Foursquare, make sure you’re checking in somewhere that has four walls and a roof, otherwise you can’t really be “in,” can you?
Despite the things that I find strange and/or useless about Foursquare (and believe me, the examples above are only a small sample from a long list), I must admit that I’m becoming somewhat addicted to the idea of checking in now that I’ve been at it for a few consecutive weeks. It’s kind of like crack. No - maybe not quite like crack. It’s kind of like pretzels. I really don’t enjoy pretzels all that much, but once I’ve had one or two, I can easily eat the entire bag. However, with the pretzels, at least the insanity is over with when the bag’s empty. (I don’t think the same can be said for when a crack pipe is empty).* With Foursquare, I could potentially go on checking in to places for no good reason indefinitely. I need to set a cutoff goal for this useless practice, and I think I know what it’s going to be. I’m not currently the “Mayor” of my own home. I have no idea how this is possible because the only other things that live here are my cats, and they have neither opposable thumbs nor cell phones to be checking in on constantly, unlike this awesome kitty. So, I need to oust whoever has encroached on my territory, and then promptly resign from Foursquare before I start power tripping and plotting Mayoral takeovers of the other condo units in my building.
* Readers note: I am not, nor have I ever been a crack addict. I’m just reading a really good book at the moment that’s pretty much centred around crackheads, so the subject matter is kind of on the brain. Parents, if you’re reading this blog, I repeat, I don’t smoke crack. Stop worrying.