How I Am Finding Value Using Foursquare
As I sat in my car trying to catch my breath following a gut busting workout, I opened my phone and checked in on Foursquare at the gym. It occurred to me that checking in at the gym has become part of my morning routine. When I arrived home and took Sasha for her morning walk, I began evaluating how I am currently using Foursquare. I realized that I use Foursquare for three main purposes these days:
On a typical weekend we’ll spend a few hours running errands. I used to check into every place we stopped. The gamification aspect of Foursquare was fun. Then I began to question why I was checking in. What value did checking into Target bring to my life? As you would expect, I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t bringing any value to myself or to those who would see that check-in. Then what value does checking into the gym, a conference or a vacation bring? Let’s break each one down.
Checking in at the gym has become my primary use of Foursquare for two reasons:
- Motivating others - Over the past few years dozens of people have reached out to me, both publicly and privately, to express that my consistency at the gym motivates them.
When I heard it the first few times, I simply said “thank you” and continued on with our conversation. After it happened several more times, I began to consider that one of the biggest fitness hurdles for most people is consistency. By checking in daily at the gym, it was helping others to stay more consistent.
Since that realization, I have begun to use the check-in as an opportunity to post workouts, workout tips and new personal bests in an effort to be more helpful and provide additional motivation.
- Motivating myself - Fitness is part of who I am. It is not a diet. It is not a short-term effort. Fitness is a way of life for me. Couple that with an addiction to data and Foursquare provides a single key metric for me: how many times I have gone to the gym.
By quickly checking Foursquare, I can see that I have checked in at my primary gym 151 times in the past 6 months. There are check-ins at other gyms, as well, from when I traveled back to Connecticut for Thanksgiving or to places such as Las Vegas or San Diego for conferences.
This helps me to understand my long-term trends. The streak pop-ups also help to motivate me because once you establish a long streak, it’s not something you want to break!
If you’re struggling to stay motivated at the gym, I highly recommend that you start checking in on Foursquare. You don’t have to share the update with Twitter and Facebook (I don’t) but the check-ins will start to be a virtual cheering section for you as you hit new streaks.
Checking in while traveling to events has proven useful because it helps me to connect with others who are also attending. I have had many chance encounters with friends at airports, hotel lobbies and other places simply from checking in and realizing that they were also there.
I also know that number of check-ins may be a helpful metric for event organizers. At Citrix, I track the check-ins at our partner event, Citrix Summit, and our customer event, Citrix Synergy. Being aware of how I use it for our events, I use Foursquare in case it might be useful data for the event teams.
I don’t go back to look at the data as I do with tracking the number of gym check-ins. Event-based check-ins provide a temporary usefulness.
Using Foursquare while on vacation allows me to track and remember memories. Since vacations don’t happen as often as any of us would like, checking in while I’m there provides me with a resource to go back to when asked for a restaurant recommendation or trying to remember where we had a delicious meal. I primarily use Instagram while on vacations but seem to have more trouble with Instagram being able to identify locations, even when using the search functionality.
As time goes on, I’m sure my use of location-based apps such as Foursquare will continue to evolve. For example, one feature in Foursquare that I have yet to use heavily, but I know others find value in, are lists. People and companies have taken time to create helpful lists, especially when visiting a new city. This is a feature that I would like to start making more use of.
Question: How are you using Foursquare or other location-based technologies? Has that use case evolved over time?