Oh, did you really just eat lunch at Subway? Why the hell do you think anybody cares to know that? Foursquare is one startup that’s fueled by the idea that sharing the mundane details of our lives makes us feel more connected. Here’s a shocker for those who continue taking photos of their burger: nobody cares.
I apologize up front to my friends that checked in today on Foursquare: I still love you all. Trust me, I understand what it’s like to feel lonely sometimes. I have all these Facebook “friends” who take photo-ops with Princes and subsequently post those photos to Facebook to make me feel bad for having such a mediocre life. If you haven’t seen my office, let me paint a picture: I’m sitting at a desk by myself with nobody else around and a tear is dripping down my face as I sit in self-pity.
O.k., maybe my life isn’t that bad, but social media has gone too far. There are now countless tools that cater to people who are unable to have real social experiences. Let me paint you another picture to illustrate this. On Sunday I was sitting at brunch with my girlfriend when I noticed someone I knew sitting outside with his friends. In the midst of his conversation he stepped aside to take a photo of his coffee and post it to his numerous followers on Instagram. Are you kidding me?!?! This is not normal human behavior.
The latest social media “innovations” have gone too far in the wrong direction. Granted, Facebook was built so we can see how boring everybody else’s lives were, however at this point it has become a joke (hint: the real way to use it is as a photo album to share memories). Social media is not actually helping us become social. I’m happy saying that Foursquare is probably the most useless tool I’ve ever used because I know that there’s a bright future beyond the self-absorbed present that we live in. Read my lips (or my fingers that are typing this text): in the next 12 months we will see a massive wave of new “social” technologies that actually make us more social.
Foursquare is not one of those technologies. Oh, you’re getting on a plane at the airport? Great! I’ve done that too. You’re checking in to a coffee shop? Cool, thanks for sharing (not). I don’t mean to bash all my friends who are competing to become mayor of some random venue, but if you know me well enough you know that I’m happy to tell you to your face that you’re wasting your time. Yes, the company now has 5 million users! However if Foursquare is really as magical as so many think it is, why doesn’t the company share their 7 day and 30 day usage? Hint: nobody is using it.