Consider these recent headlines and stats:
- Foursquare recently hit a billion check ins and has over 10 million users.
- Facebook is killing off its “Places” function, but replacing it with an option to check in when updating your status.
- Gowalla is redesigning its apps and redefining itself more as local guide application.
With such a substantial market, there’s no doubt that there is an audience for these applications out there. So why isn’t everyone checking in? Only 6% of Facebook users were actually using the “Places” function, which is shockingly low considering its massive following (800 million users). Granted, most were likely already using Foursquare or Gowalla, but even the uptake for these apps is low, considering the multitude of people who have Smartphones and utilize other social apps.
I took a quick a poll among my friends and co-workers to see whether they used any of these applications and why or why not. Most of those who don’t use these types of apps agreed that they don’t like to broadcast their whereabouts to “friends” on Facebook. If they want you to know where they are, they’ll text you. And vice versa. On the flip side, those who use them, saw the benefit of knowing where their friends were at a glance on their Smartphone. Finding random friends in the same spot could turn into a fun night with an old buddy.
Personally, I enjoy using Foursquare to see what my friends, co-workers, and family are up to. Having control over who can see where I’m checking in is also what appeals to me about this app. As opposed to Facebook, where I haven’t vetted my friends list in ages – and I’m pretty sure my ex from seventh grade really doesn’t care what I’m doing these days or care where I’m checking in. And I have zero interest in where 90% of my ‘friends’ on Facebook are checking in too.
Sure, privacy is an issue and I bet if my father even knew how to text, he’d have an issue with me using Foursquare. But in this digital age of social media, it’s pretty darn easy to find anything you want on anyone. The amount of information on us out there is a bit frightening, so really an additional check-in here and there isn’t going to hurt. And if you’re still a bit antsy, check in when you’re outside and ready to leave.
Do you think with the influx of digital and social media that privacy concerns are going to diminish?