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How checking in less has made me a better Foursquare user

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When I first started experimenting with Foursquare, I took the go-big-or-go-home approach—which is to say, I checked in basically everywhere, with the exception of my home. It seemed all good and for the most part I was just going with the flow (and hey, check out these awesome badges!).

Lately, though, I’ve taken a different approach which I believe has made my Foursquare profile a lot more effective. The approach consists of two rules:

  1. I only check in if I’m willing and able to socialize –OR–
  2. I only check in if it adds value.

In other words, the days of checking in at the grocery store, the gas station and the gym are pretty much over.

There are two ways to look at Foursquare—as a game (re: badges and points) or as a social networking tool—and after using it for a while, I’ve decided that I’m more interested in the latter. If I’m headed to some social media mixer and plan on hanging out for a few hours, it makes sense to let people know I’m present. On the other hand, there’s really no social benefit to notifying people that I’m at a gas station because I’ll be gone in five minutes.

On the other hand: Maybe I’m only at the gas station for five minutes, but maybe gas there is insanely cheap. I’m obviously not going to meet anyone while I’m pumping gas, but I can leave a breadcrumb (“$2.69 for regular unleaded!”) that someone in my social sphere may find useful later on (value added).

How do you use Foursquare or how have your habits changed if you’ve been using it for a while? Drop a comment and let me know.

(And before anyone asks: I have no idea where, in Seattle, you can find regular unleaded for $2.69.)

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://twitter.com/jbertrand Jeremy

    Completely agree. I have moved the same direction and only check in when it provides value or provides a networking opportunity.

  • http://paulbalcerak.com paulbalcerak

    @Jeremy- Interestingly enough, once I started checking in less, I started broadcasting more—i.e. pushing my check-ins to Twitter and Facebook. I know a lot of people find that annoying, but again, it’s not like I’m doing it multiple times a day. If I want to be found, it makes sense to make myself findable, right?

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