This is my anti-foursquare manifesto. (Sort of.) Okay, maybe not, but I still hate this site.
Foursquare is a social media site, for those of you who aren’t familiar, that allows you to update your friends as to your current whereabouts and actions. It’s kind of like an upgraded status update. You can, eventually, earn badges and other shit and become the “mayor” of a given locale, and possibly–if the business is social media-savvy–earn rewards just for frequenting a given place and letting everyone know.
But why would I say Foursquare is for dummies? Seems pretty harmless–maybe a little annoying and creepy, which is, granted, one of the reasons I am loving hating on it–so why ruin the fun?
Because you’re a mule. Foursquare users are advertising mules.
Foursquare isn’t for you, it’s for the businesses you frequent. They immediately, through you, have access to a large group of your friends (via Foursquare, Twitter, and Facebook) and your bona fide testimonial touting their establishment FOR FREE (or for the cost of one beer after a slew of check-ins and purchases, for example). This is like localized advertising on steroids. Immediately this business has earned the trust of your friends (through your check-in) and has access to a large group with, presumably, similar interests. They don’t even have to pay for an advertisement because you’re doing that for them. And this, my friend, is why you, on Foursquare, are a mule. Way to go.
I think, however, that Foursquare is only one truly awful symptom of a larger problem: we’re more interested in maintaining our online lives than our real ones.
In the case of Foursquare, we stop living and enjoying the ambiance of the establishment we are at and the people we’re with in order to go through the following ritual:
1. pull out phone
2. find foursquare app
3. sign in
4. find the name of the establishment
5. check in
6. put away phone (I hope)
Just think, in the time you took to do that, you could have begun a meaningful conversation with the friend next to you, or ordered some food, or looked around and maybe caught someone’s eye and smiled. There’s plenty you could have done that would probably have made your day much better than a check-in through Foursquare would.
To conclude, Foursquare is a time-sucking, life-sucking, advertising vampire of a program.