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Castle Point Court
Glen Allen, VA 23060


Garth Callaghan

Napkin Notes Dad





The Napkin Notes Blog

Why I Quit FourSquare

WGarth Callaghan

I am happy to announce that the following venues have their Mayorship up for grabs:

1) Echo Lake Elementary School

2) Glen Allen RF&P Park

3) Brookley Road Field

4) Little Venice Restaurant

5) MGM Law

6) OfficeMax - Staples Mill

7) St. Michael Catholic Church

8) The Blockhouse - BLDG 1109 on Ft Lee

9) US Post Office - Mountain Rd

10) 127TECH

I was pretty excited to start using FourSquare.  I have only been an active user for a few months.  I cancelled my account yesterday and won't go back. 

Privacy Issues

Oddly enough, I didn't have any issue with privacy.  I understood that the service would not only broadcast my location, but it might even tell the interwebs what I was doing there!. I was perfectly ok with anyone knowing where I was and what I was doing.  It was a blast and I had quite a few conversations about what was in stock at Costco. 

Frankly, anyone using FourSquare should have a reasonable expectation that their smartphone can easily track their location via the cellular signal, GPS and WiFi.  FourSquare doesn't do anything more than these other tracking methods.


I was very frustrated with the level of competition that this service fostered.  Once I became a Mayor of a location, I really needed to defend that title.  I needed to visit my venues frequently to ensure that the Mayorship wasn't stolen away from me.  I didn't need to visit the Post Office on a daily basis, but I wanted to make up reasons to get there just to check in.  I even paid attention to my driving route so that I could do a drive-by check in!

Mostly I was frustrated with myself when I found that I had left a venue and realized that I hadn’t taken the time to check in.  That in itself made me realize that I was being utterly ridiculous and obsessive about a game that didn’t really matter. 


The major issue that I have with FourSquare is that the service doesn't automatically check in for me.  I know that there are multi-tasking and privacy issues that could have serious implications for many users.  I can hear the arguments now, "I don't want FourSquare to automatically check-in for me.  What if my boss/wife/etc. sees my middle of the morning trip to Starbucks?"

Although arguments like these are valid, the programmers at FourSquare could easily put in controls that would only allow automatic check ins between certain hours or specific venues or not at all!

Why would I even want automated check ins? We're all busy.  We're running around a lot, and when we're running around we're using our smart phones to make calls, read email, play games, check stocks, etc.  Checking in with FourSquare adds one more thing to our already overloaded task list. I'm tired of leaving a venue and realizing that I didn't check in.  Even my daughter acts as a reminder to me as we leave church.  "Don't forget to check in, Dad!". I usually smile and think to myself that God must find this incredibly amusing since I just spent the better part of a Sunday morning checking in with Him. 

Best of luck to all of the Mayors out there.  Enjoy your Badges and defending your Mayorships. 

I'll see you in FourSquare 3.0.