Why I deleted Foursquare

Delete button

I deleted Foursquare. I know it’s not cool to admit that, but it just didn’t add value for me.

Most people don’t lead especially fascinating lives – they go to work, go
home, eat in the odd nice restaurant, and travel occasionally. Check-ins
are either routine or for show. Gym rats check in at the gym to show
how sporty they are. Jetsetters check in at various airports to show how
much they travel. Foodies eat. Either that makes you feel envious or
bored.

There is a voyeurisitic pleasure in tracking your friends’ progress around
the globe. But that’s not an attractive quality. It’s good to know what
they are up to but it’s awkward to raise it in conversation. ‘Oh so how
was Restaurant Splendido, last Saturday?’ elicits an uncomfortable
squirm. If 4SQ offered a chance to suggest they try the delicious pork
chop while they were actually at the restaurant, it might be different.

Privacy concerns aside, the chance to meet up with friends who happen to be at
the same location as you is theoretically interesting but in practice
marginal. The discovery aspect of finding new locations
can be done through
richer channels.

The tips are good but unfiltered and without context. You don’t know who
the author is, whether their opinion is considered or just a passing
remark, or even from a competitive offering. You rarely get the
information you want – like where the plug sockets are in the airport.
There are other ways to get that info
too.

I understand the potential marketing value of creating a Badge or
offering discounts for Mayors etc. It’s not that geolocation is a bad
idea – far from it. But from a user perspective you need to check in so
often and the rewards are so low, it wasn’t compelling. My experience is
that Foursquare is still a feature, not a network. For instance, the points
system didn’t engage me, and the iPhone app seemed unstable.

These may have been addressed in the three months since I last checked in. But with Facebook’s geolocation rumored to be announced tomorrow, I wonder whether we’ll see the bloom come off Foursquare’s rose.