Active Vs. Passive Checkin

13 Aug


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I was among the first of my friends to hop on the Foursquare wagon. I battled with coworkers to win the office mayorship, I created locations for my favorite falafel cart, my favorite dive bars and cool spots in the park. I was an active and eager participant. But then it just got old. Once you get the mayorship of a place, so what? Has anyone ever really used foursquare tro find out where their friends are and join them?

Wanting something new I switched to Gowalla and went through the same motions – create new spots, check in, collect items, and that too grew old. Neither of these systems have good enough game design to make them addictive (SCVNGR seems to be doing some fun stuff) and the promise of a free cup of coffee, or whatever, isn’t worth the level of effort required to obtain it.

Checking in becomes a chore. I have to stop whatever it is I’m doing, load up my app and hope that it finds the correct location. It becomes counter productive when people are stopping mid conversation to check into a social application. To really make geolocation platforms work they way they are intended the checkin process needs to be automated.

What Sucks About Foursquare Today
View more presentations from JESS3.

JESS3 makes a good case for why location based checkins should be automated in his slideshow, and it seems that the demand is already here.

The primary argument against passive checkins is privacy. What are the repercussions of automatically alerting other to my exact whereabouts? Sites like Please Rob Me and this Daily Beast article illustrate the real-world consequences of oversharing.

I think, in general, the concept of passive checkins is the best solutiopn for geolocation platforms, but it needs boundaries. Different levels of sharing for different groups of contacts, one for friends another for colleagues, etc.. I dont quite think that the age of privacy is over, but I think that the demand for location sharing is there but that the current implementation is flawed.

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