The power of peer expectations.
Last week I deleted the Foursquare app from my phone… again. I had deleted it once before, only to installing it one more time for a conference I was attending. It’s a simple way to find out where your friends are. And that’s true. It’s simple. But so is sending a text message and asking, “Where are you?”
If I’m really being honest with myself, I installed it because everyone else was using it and I didn’t really feel like talking about why I wasn’t using Foursquare. I’ve never been a huge fan of Foursquare. And the times I’ve used it most have been “cool trips.” I was in Australia twice last year and used it extensively, and really, that was just an excuse to brag about where I was. That’s a sucky reason to use an app.
Fast forward to last week. I had not checked in on Foursquare in almost a month and the only time I had done so before that was because I felt like I “needed to.” I wish I could explain in more detail the feeling I had in that moment, but in retrospect, it felt a lot like the peer pressure you might feel in high school to be a part of the “cool crowd.” I didn’t like the feeling. So, I deleted the app.
And I wondered if others felt the same way. This morning, someone raised their hand.
@jeffturner I might have to free myself from the slavery soon.:)I do it just b/c I am “expected” to keep involved in social
— Brendan King (@brendanking) March 22, 2012
Stop Doing Things For Sucky Reasons
I knew I couldn’t be alone in my dysfunction. It was refreshing to see someone voicing the same feelings I was having. My response to Brendan was this, “I hear you… I felt similarly… and I think that’s a sucky reason to do anything.” I don’t think I was telling him anything he didn’t already know. I think that’s obvious. Thanks for sharing so openly, Brendan. Perhaps there’s a 12-step program for people like us.
Our short conversation started because I had retweeted this from Ben Kunz, “I don’t see many Foursquare updates in my stream anymore. What do you think? Are people giving up on LBS silliness?” I think Brendan’s first response is probably accurate, people may finally decided to turn off automatic updates to Twitter when they check in. Or perhaps the “location as focus” is giving way to “location as context” inside other social networks. It has for me. I use location in Facebook and Path to provide context for photos, and status updates for example. That makes sense to me. I may install the Foursquare app again some day, who knows, but for now, my location needs are well served inside other social networks.
And before my location-centric real estate friends jump all over me, I know some of you are having success using Foursquare to connect with users. Tamara Dorris shared some great stories about her Foursquare use yesterday. I get it. I really do. But I don’t do business locally. Location is simply not a part of how I connect with people I gain as clients. And when I’m not travelling… quite frankly, I check in at home and don’t leave much.
So, I wonder, how many others are using Foursquare because they’re “expected” to keep involved in social media, or for some other sucky reason?