Sunday, January 8, 2012

Foursquare, We Have a Problem

I've been using Foursquare for a few months, mostly as a function of my job, to see its potential impact on my client's businesses.  For a while, I was only annoying my less socially-connected friends by my constant posts on Facebook about every time I went running in the morning on the local bike path, for which, I am the mayor, thank you very much.

Embarrassingly too much Tex-Mex
Then, in November, my mom and I went to dinner at ma peche in New York City, and while sitting at the bar, I received a buy-one-get-one-free deal for drinks.  Score!  Then, the week of Thanksgiving, American Express started with their small business deals, getting me money back when I spent at local businesses, here and there.  Very sweet!  Life was good.

The deals have waned, which makes me wonder if this is really enough to get me to check-in.  Even for me, it's a chore to whip out my smartphone every time, when one time out of 8000 gets me a deal, and my wife's stare is burning holes through the back of my head.  I'm not saying that the City of Dallas needs to celebrate my presence on the running trail every morning, but maybe once in a while, a small marching band would be appropriate.

Today, though, as we brought my wife's niece to the local, up-scale mall, I encountered a more serious Foursquare's challenge: connectivity.  There never is any at this mall.  That's why so many teenagers must hang out here, so their parents can't get a hold of them, and they have a valid excuse.  I was able to sneak a check-in for American Eagle Outfitters, but when I clicked on their deal, the Interwebs failed me.  Most other places, I could never check-in, even though I really wanted to and tried very hard, against my nature.  Most humans would never try the second time.

Clearly, malls are not on the rise, but this is not the only place that I have had Foursquare connectivity issues, sometimes not seemingly caused by connectivity issues.  The problem is not that this will not improve.  In fact, Foursquare might consider subsidizing fempto cells in some shopping areas and malls or encouraging some of the innovative schemes that exist to improve data network and spectral efficiency.

Anything to improve the experience, because most people's bozo bit is more sensitive than mine for new technology and services like this one.  Once it gets flipped, it's hard to reset.

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