I stopped using Foursquare. Not because it’s a bad app. Not because there’s anything wrong with it. It’s a great app, first of it’s kind to really put Geo-Loc on the map with regards to mainstream popularity. I was enjoying using it. But a line in a recent blog post entitled Foursquare and the Analog Groundswell by Michael Brito (@Britopian on Twitter), he had said, “…..Heck, if I had the time I would be all over Yelp but I am on profile overload at the moment and just don’t have the time.” While the whole article was great, this particular line really struck a chord with me.
Honestly, over the last few weeks I’ve been feeling like an over-stimulated newborn. Outside of my actual day job, submitting data to services like this on a daily basis in my personal life was turning into a full time job in itself and I was realizing that I was losing my ability to be present. It was beginning to feel 10 times as draining as the most high maintenance relationship I’ve ever been in. It’s funny too because without even having any discussions about this with a good friend of mine, Jennifer Leggio (@Mediaphyter on Twitter), she had almost simultaneously written a blog post, Five reasons to check out of Foursquare, about some similar thoughts and realizations.
Let’s face it, the only way to get the most social capital of apps like Foursquare is to be fully committed to consistency, checking into every venue you are at, at all times without missing a beat. If you are a mover, this can really crank up your commitment to your Blackberry/iPhone on a whole other level. When that commitment starts to take over the things going on in your offline life that are actually tangible and matter – Time with your friends & family, enjoying a sunset, etc. – When you are attending an event or experiencing something and are focusing more on documenting it and making sure you are ‘checking in’ as opposed to just being present and fully enjoying the experience for what it was meant to be, then you are sacrificing parts of yourself that aren’t meant to be sacrificed while you walk this earth. That’s my opinion anyway.
I’m not dogging the apps, or the technological and social concepts, or even the business and commercial value. I still think all that stuff is cool. I just knew something was wrong when my 7 year old got frustrated with me for stalling in a Safeway aisle so I could ‘check in’.