Location-based services are supposedly the next big thing (if not ‘the’ big thing currently). The premise is that you ‘chek-in’ when you get somewhere, telling various groups of people where you are. The original intent, at least for Foursquare, was for barhoppers and party-goers to be able to easily find their friends. When you’re out on the town, you could check-in at a bar and instantly do two things – tell your friends where you’re at (so they can meet up with you) and find out which of your friends might already be there.
That’s great if you’re out on the town frequently, but what if you’re not? Or, what if none of your local buddies think checking in is as cool as you do? Well, in those situations, it turns out to be kind of pointless. I’ve been using Foursquare for over a year – I have spent 178 nights out, and checked in a total of 346 times. I (currently) have 4 mayorships and 10 badges, so I’ve been using it as much as I can (which is the point of the service, anyways).
However, I’m not getting any value out of it, so I’m quitting. What’s Value? Value will be defined differently by different people. One way that a location-based service would add value is the obvious – make it easier for me to find and meetup with my real friends. While that’s specifically what Foursquare is designed for, it doesn’t work for me – I don’t go out often enough and most of my ‘real-life’ friends aren’t using Foursquare. Thus, it’s not helping me find my friends – in fact, I can’t think of a single instance where I was able to use Foursquare to find or meetup with my friends.
I would also count it as ‘adding value’ if my check-ins generated conversation online. I realize that’s a stretch, but let’s be honest – bloggers have egos, and whenever someone interacts with us online, either with a comment or a ‘like’, it’s like getting a treat. Just to be clear, this isn’t really specific to Foursquare, that’s just the service that I’ve been using. Gowalla is a similar one, as is the new Facebook Places and Ovi’s new Check-In service.
What do you think of the various check-in services? Have you ever used them to actually meet up with your friends? Have you gotten any actual real value out of them (aside from stickers/badges and mayorships)?
On a side note, Foursquare’s account deletion page is freakin awesome. See a screenshot below: