Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Foursquare, reconsidered

A year ago today, I wrote a post about this new site called "Foursquare" I had started using. At the time, none of my friends were using it, so that dampened my enthusiasm.  Well, a year later, I'm still using and enjoying it.  Here are my reflections after a year:
  • Being mayor is cool, but a majority of places I'm mayor of, I have a very tenuous hold on -- someone visiting two days in a row could knock me out.  
  • I like saying I'm the mayor of a park or a good restaurant, but less so a grocery store or a gas station.  As the parent of twin infants, I find my opportunity to visit places frequently to be fairly diminished.  That should pick up again as they get more mobile.
  • Nobody cares about Foursquare points.  They need to revamp them or get rid of them.
  • By April, five of my friends had started using Foursquare, and when Christina started in May, it became a lot more interesting.  Sometimes, seeing where people check in interests me more than a Facebook status update.
  • I still haven't used it for a spontaneous meeting with a friend.  I think it promises a lot of, "Hey, so-and-so is at the bar down the street, let's meet up," but at my age and place in life that isn't going to happen.  As I said last year, "I could see this being pretty neat 15 years ago in grad school."
  • The badges are awesome.  I think they're my favorite part -- I especially enjoy generating badge envy.  Some badges I'm envious of: Just Desserts, Historian, and for some reason most of all, I'm on a Boat!
  • They've addressed the cheating pretty well, especially with the recent requirement to use a location-aware phone for check-in.  It would have prevented me from getting any mayorships and badges from last January to April on my old Palm Treo, but I guess the world moves on.
  • It would really help if the game got more developed.  For now, as long as they release more badges, I'll be pretty happy, but the whole real world meets digital gaming nexus probably needs more dimensions to take off.

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