Foursquare… annoying, yet addictive

Many people don’t know that Foursquare originated from a social media network called Dodgeball created in 2003 by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai. The duo formed Dodgeball to connect people so they can share their experiences at places like restaurants and stores. As Dodgeball began to grow, it was bought up by mega-giant Google in 2005. They tried to grow the site’s user base during the next year, anticipating success.

Well… guess what? It didn’t work. Due to the slow inner workings of Google and a lack of technology at the time to support geo-location based sites, it fizzled. So Crowly and Selvadurai went back to the drawing board rather disgusted at what transpired. During the next few years, they worked day and night on a spin-off of the first venture. They waited in the wings until Google’s non-compete passed, and in January 2009, they launched Foursquare.

Now, this new concept was launched at the South by Southwest interactive festival – the mecca of technology, video, film and music innovations. It was hailed the “Breakout App” by Mashable and other social media blogs. According to an article in Wired Magazine,

Having heard the news that Foursquare might be the next big thing, early adopters around the globe began clamoring for it to come to their city. Foursquare was quickly becoming the darling of the new media community.

The Difference
What really set apart the launch of Foursquare versus Dodgeball was the fact that iPhones, Blackberries and Droids now used GPS. This allowed for an app that could more effectively be used cross-platform to automatically find where you are and list the people and places around you. The user can then check-in to places, battle to become the “mayor” of a location, like Starbucks or even an airport terminal, gaining discounts and rewards by some participating establishments. Users can also be awarded “badges” that are like pieces of flair (remember Office Space the movie?) to show what they have accomplished.

My Foursquare profile page

Hey, I have a bender badge, unlocked a Marc Jacobs free gift badge in Chicago and a super-user badge! I feel very important… at least to myself.

I don’t know what it is, but this app is addictive. I find myself compelled to check-in everywhere, especially when I’m traveling and bored. Hmm, when I’m bored I use the app the most. Is it a way to pass the time like a game? Or is it something that actually connects with people and places to help me build my network and learn about cool restaurants and bars?

Some say this app, much like Twitter and Facebook, play on a person’s vanity and ego, providing them with a gateway to express their own self-worth and imagined persona. Maybe so to a degree, but I think if it’s used to encourage personal connection and business opportunities, it may be of value. I have to admit, I am torn as to why I spend a second messing with this app, but I still do (going on about five months now).

My Foursquare Future
Will I stop using it or slow down like I have with this blog? Maybe, but I hope I remain engaged in both to keep in contact with my network and learn new things – some random and worthless and some extremely beneficial to me personally and professionally. If anyone is still listening out there and reading this blog, let me know what you think and post some comments on your experiences with Foursquare and other geo-location apps like Cause World, etc.

Your comment may just boost my self-worth and imagined persona!


2 responses to “Foursquare… annoying, yet addictive

  • Rob

    I came across this blog because I searched “foursquare annoying” on Google, not because I think Foursquare is annoying but because I wondered if people will find me annoying because I keep checking-in wherever I go and this floods my Facebook wall. Anyway, I recently just joined Foursquare and like you said, I find it’s very addicting. Yeah, it could, like Twitter, be just an ego thing. But what the hey, I still love doing it. It’s a new way of expressing yourself without “tweeting” or saying where you are on your Facebook wall, which some people even find more annoying. Well, personally, I’m glad I discovered Foursquare (and am secretly hoping no one would hide me from their walls, or worse, delete me!).

  • rjdavila2003

    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for the comment! Sorry for the late response, but the new business has been taking off. Super busy!

    You’re definitely right about flooding your various social media platforms, but Foursquare’s option to anonymously check-in and hide your whereabouts is pretty cool. I like that I can be off the grid sometimes, while still getting the check-in.

    But when I want to show people where I am and even comment on my check-in (why I like where I’m at or a tip), I can do that and post it to Facebook, Twitter and to my friends. You can do one, two or all of them and, as long as you have integrated your platforms within Foursquare, you can have them auto-post.

    Thanks again for the great comment and I look forward to hearing how your experience goes with Foursquare and/or similar geo-location apps!


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