Foursquare is the small behemoth that stood against the big champions like BrightKite and Facebook, and so far has kind of won. BrightKite is no more due to incompetent management, and Facebook’s geo-entry called “Facebook Places” has been scaled down to Facebook Locations which you can use while posting stuff and photos.
Foursquare is here to stay for a while, even if major companies shunned it in 2010 and in 2011.
Except Yelp, Foursquare doesn’t have any other noteworthy competitors which have the exact mobile fan base that it does. And Yelp is actually a reviews site, which focuses mainly on reviews and only recently started offering the check-in feature also.
In fact, there’s probably nothing else out there, in 2012 at time of this writing, which has the same user base and focus as Foursquare where the only purpose of the app is to share with others which exact business or location you are at.
Even though it’s 2012, sharing your exact location with others most of the time is still considered a very touchy subject. While the subject tone may never change, users will eventually decide whether or not they will keep using Foursquare.
So the question today is: do YOU think Foursquare is worth using? Here are 4 reasons why I think Foursquare may rock, and 4 reasons why I think Foursquare may not. I do keep using Foursquare at the moment, by the way.
4 Reasons Foursquare May Rock!
I use Foursquare almost regularly, and think it has a lot of potential. Here are 4 big reasons why I think Foursquare may keep rocking and thrive in the long run.
- It adds a physical presence tone to your online presence.
With almost everyone doing something online, Foursquare allows you to connect your actual offline presence to your online activities. You can check into the supermarket on Foursquare while tweeting about the crazy cashier up ahead.
- It allows businesses to get direct feedback as to which online people are coming into the offline stores.
Foursquare allows businesses to see which users come into their stores, what times people check in, what people are saying, and what they can do to make more people be happy with their check-ins.
- It adds to your online personality.
Anyone who wants to showcase their personality and themselves online benefits greatly by checking into places they want everyone to know about. Sure, people may check into an ULTA store more than CVS, though it still allows someone to share more about themselves.
- It allows you to connect with offline places in an online manner.
Connecting with an offline store you’re visiting through an online venue, while you’re still in or around the store, is a revolutionary concept in the online world which is still being heavily researched into by Foursquare, Facebook and Google. The possibilities can be endless (giving more perks, giving instant discounts, giving new offers based on whether one is happy or not, making such check-ins act like membership discounts, allowing people to use that as a receipt, etc), and the only limitation seems to be the kind-of-slow adaption of this check-in phenomenon when compared to the billions of users online.
4 Reasons Foursquare May Not Rock!
Back in 2010 Microsoft said Foursquare is a failure and will never succeed. While it is unknown how much money Foursquare is currently making, the fact is that Foursquare is still growing, and is not showing any sign of simply shutting down due to any potential unpopularity in use.
Here are 4 big reasons why Foursquare may not thrive as much among majority of users:
- Privacy issues
By sharing your actual location with the world, issues like being robbed because of Foursquare may cause physical harm or property loss in some cases. Many people are still wary of sharing their exact location with the world, which is probably the top reason why geo-check-ins have a slower adaption rate compared to many other online trends (like pinning an image to a site like Pinterest).
- The prize for checking in turns Foursquare into a game instead of a utility.
Majority of the places you check into get you a Mayor status. Once you become a mayor of some places, your entire focus turns into competing with other Mayors instead of gaining anything useful online or offline (unless you consider being a Mayor a useful online thing – then this point is actually the 5th good point for Foursquare).
- Not enough Foursquare users compared to Facebook friends or Twitter users.
The adaption of Foursquare, while phenomenal compared to all its direct competitors, still lags crazily behind the growth experienced by Google+, Facebook and Twitter. Eventually, you check on to Foursquare to compete with total strangers, even if they’re in the neighborhood, while majority or all your friends keep posting on Twitter or Facebook. Not all your friends or family members may have Foursquare, so they can’t see what you’re up to.
- Majority of businesses give you no reward for checking-in.
The number of discounts or rewards you get for checking into any store on Foursquare is almost non-existent compared to all the businesses you visit almost every day. Why should people keep checking into a store via Foursquare when they can simply tweet or Facebook their thoughts, along with simple check-ins directly on those services and through those services?
Tons of ideas for Foursquare
Here is Jess3, from back in 2010, offering lots of advice and tips to Foursquare on things that can be improved. Which ones do you like, and which ones do you think have yet to see light of the day?
What do you think of Foursquare?
I think the concept of check-ins has yet to hit the massive potential that exists. The same way you don’t want a stranger on the bus to know where you live, millions of people out there do not want to post regularly about the restaurants they eat at, the shops they visit at 2am, the shopping store they buy clothes from, and more. It’s creepy for many people, it’s a privacy issue for many other people, and it’s simply not useful for many other (other) people.
Getting more people to check-in and giving them a reason to do so may be the biggest hurdle faced by Foursquare, Facebook Location, Google Latitude, and other places. Unlike Foursquare, however, Facebook, Google and even Twitter have tons of other things to offer besides check-ins, and thus can survive, and already do thrive, in other ways. Foursquare relies solely on check-ins.
It’s a dangerous game where if the check-in trend does not become a global craze, Foursquare may have to change business models, or simply check-out.
I do keep using Foursquare at the moment, even though I check into Google+, Facebook and Twitter for each location that I check into. I think Foursquare does bring in people to see your profile, your sites, your check-ins, and more. I’m interested in having more people find me, so I’m guessing Foursquare is not doing any harm for me at the moment (other than being another account which I have to manage in a life full of online accounts).
How about you? What do you think of checking into places in general?
What is your opinion of Foursquare? Do you use it? Do you recommend it? Why or why not?
Please share your opinions and views below, along with your Foursquare profile link in the “Website” field, if you wish. Thanks for reading!