While hesitant at first, I eventually signed up for a Foursquare account and from that moment began “checking in” everytime I went somewhere. The longer I used the service, the more frustrated I became and today I decided that I had enough.
Foursquare in an Ideal World
Foursquare is a fun service that encourages you to get out and “do more.” You can see where all of your friends are at and get tips about local businesses.
The Reality of Foursquare
- Most of your friends don’t use it.
- Everytime you go somewhere, you will immediately pull out your phone and spend a minimum of 1 minute checking in – if you are lucky.
- The database of venues allows for all users to create venues, but a significantly smaller amount of users to make changes. What tends to happen is some idiot creates the venue with no information or creates a bunch of duplicates. In order to get anything fixed, you have to post on some bullshit forum thread and wait. Sometimes they fix it, sometimes they don’t. Whether or not your “suggestion” based on the knowledge you have as a local becomes reality is dependent solely on the opinion of some e-peen stroking “power user” that knows absolutely nothing about where you live. I’ve checked-in over 1000 times to some stupid number of different venues, hold 16 mayorships that each contain perfectly formatted information – yet I am powerless over my own city.
- Most of the time your smartphone application can’t determine where you are at. It’s pathetic when I am standing inside of a store and spend 5 minutes refreshing my phone so I can check in.
- Oh, guess what… the venue you want to check in to doesn’t exist – have fun sitting in the parking lot punching in the address from your receipt. <sarcasm>You could just create the venue with no information at all or duplicate it, hell – everybody else in your city is doing it</sarcasm>.
- Recently Foursquare rolled out anti-cheat checks that simply compare your smartphone’s determined distance from the venue to an acceptable variance based on how spread out previous check ins have been. This would be great if it worked correctly, but it doesn’t. End result of spending 5 minutes checking in is a message telling me that my phone thinks I’m too far away and I don’t get points or credit towards mayorship. <sarcasm>Awesome</sarcasm>.
- Foursquare servers become overloaded at lunch time every single day. It has been this way for months and they have done nothing to solve increasing scalability issues.
- Even if you aren’t the kind of user to put your home on there or accept friendships from strangers, do you really trust a service with information about where you are located at any given time? I don’t.
The gist of it is that I am tired of having to dick around on my phone every time I go somewhere and using a service shouldn’t be frustrating. I shouldn’t be spending more than a few seconds using a service like this or distracting myself while driving in order to win “nerd points IRL.” On top of that, it’s 2010 – there are digital directories of businesses that Foursquare should be using to populate their venue database. It would be far more accurate and less frustrating than the current half-assed system they have now.
The best part about Foursquare is that it was easy to delete my account. I feel sorry for myself that I wasted so much time and allowed myself to be completely distracted by an obligation to check in every time I went somewhere.