For this week’s Comm 193 assignment, Dr. Hether made us create a Foursquare account and check-in to places for a few days. I was initially against it because 1) I like my privacy 2) I knew I wouldn’t be going anywhere of interest this weekend since I’m confined to my apartment doing endless assignments. Still she insisted, so here I am.
In setting up Foursquare I first made sure only my peers could see me. Once I felt at ease, I jumped right in. As an individual, I still can’t get pass the creepy stalking capabilities of the application. Upon starting up the app on my phone, I checked in at my apartment. Before you start, I know checking in from your home is a bad idea, but for the purpose of this assignment I had to check in somewhere, knowing I wasn’t really going anywhere else. Kyle, my only classmate that followed me within the hour of my friend request, also checked-in somewhere around the same time.
Now for those who don’t know, Foursquare has a map that shows your exact position and gives a list of nearby places. It also shows the profile picture of the friends you follow on the map IF they checked in pretty recently. Kyle’s photo was on the map fairly close to me, which makes sense since we were still lingering around campus. I have nothing against Kyle. He’s a good guy, but to be able to see him in my proximity was a bit too much. The whole concept seems to only invite trouble. Of course this is just my preference for privacy. I know social media is supposed to bring people closer, but I don’t want to be that close.
Yes, you can control who follows you, but I don’t need to know where my friends are 24/7 and vice-versa. Then there are those moments where an acquaintance adds you, but you don’t want to accept but have to or they’ll get mad. If you become guilt-ridden like I would because of social media courtesy/ethics, you’d accept. Now you have an acquaintance you don’t know too well tracking you. Peachy.
As an individual, I don’t see the appeal but I can see why businesses like restaurants would thrive off of it. By having people check-in, businesses can get an idea of what time of day people come in and who is coming in. By having a lot of check-ins, businesses can also become potential hotspots, receiving even more business. In addition, those using Foursquare can add a status or photo to their check-ins and write a tip about the business, reflecting why they are at a particular business. Therefore there’s a lot businesses can learn about their customers. But unlike Yelp, people can’t write long reviews giving a detailed reason why the business is a good place to go to. Yelp has a check-in option and offers promotions just like Foursquare, so I wonder how people decide which app to use. Personally, I find Yelp more useful for an individual, but perhaps not for a business.
Regardless, I don’t use either service much so I’m the worst demographic to target. Still, if location-based social media works, let it work!