Don’t Just Check In, Go Explore!

Just last week, I read a post by ex-Mashable writer Jennifer Van Grove, citing how the check-in, Foursquare’s trump card could aid the service’s fall into the abyss of social networking failures. The article, as you would expect was brilliantly written and highlights two key points. Firstly, the majority of  people still have yet to hear of foursquare & of those that have, only use the service to tell their friends where they are. Though racking them up, these people are clearly missing the point.

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Sure, it’s fun to let people know where you are; “Terence is at Cairns Central YHA“. But without the mass user base boasted by the likes of facebook and twitter, that “little bit of serendipity” that Foursquare suggests, will never be present and thus in effect rules the game null and void. I’m telling 50 people (that I vaguely know), that I’m out getting groceries at 3am. They won’t comment on my check-in. Why aren’t these people feeding my narcissism?

But the check-in’s get me points? Does the “leaderboard” really tempt people to seek out new venue? “Terence is the Mayor of Rossi Ice Cream +3 points, it’s Thursday +2, the sun’s out +5“. The game sometimes makes me question whether topping the scoreboard really makes me a winner, or whether there’s a better game to be played elsewhere.

It might sound as though I’m complaining, far from it. I’m simply highlighting to all those who “just check-in” that there’s a better world out there… A world to be explored! Travelling Australia has meant that I have had to find places that will entice, excite and delight me. Foursquare Explore has been my personal travel guide, searching for a cafe, bar or pharmacist, I can read reviews, tips and get directions to them via Google Maps. Sure we all have different tastes, but Explore and it’s tips have helped me discovered hidden gems that many regular travellers would miss. Local knowledge at the swipe of an index finger… that’s something that can’t be bought. Here’s a  personal list of venues that foursquare & it’s users have helped me discover down under – Australia Explored

I agree with Jennifer. Foursquare has evolved since it’s humble beginnings, no longer is it simply a  check-in service. Yet, the problem lies with perception, and not only do non users view foursquare as “the check-in app”, but also the majority of loyal fans. I’m calling for fans to jump out of that comfort zone and find specials, leave tips, but most importantly… go explore, because without you guys (& girls) the social media world will lose one of the most underrated and rewarding features.

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