Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Why I want automated check ins

My wife says she trusts me. I know this because she tells me on a regular basis. She doesn't have to tell me, but it's nice to be told anyway.
However, when I asked her recently why she trusted me, I didn't get the response I expected. Instead she said "I know where you are all the time because you check in on Foursquare". After I got over the shock of her not having unmitigated faith in my activities, I began to realise what she actually meant.
You see she has now got used to seeing my digital waypoints appear at difference intervals throughout the day. Those automated announcements of my majorships appearing on Facebook are actually mini notifications that I'm out there somewhere and activity posting my whereabouts.  Or to put it another way... she has a certain amount of reassurance from knowing I'm voluntarily checking in on one of the most popular location - based online service.
However I can see a time where I'm going to stop using Foursquare.  I'm actually tiring of it a little and am not getting the rewards from using it I want. Why? Well the gamification seems to be getting poorer (for example I don't seem to get many badges for constantly visiting places) and I have such a geographical spread of friends that I'm getting notifications from as far afield as London, Sau Paulo and Somerset.
But if Foursquare automated their service, I would still keep using it. In fact, I'd turn it on, leave it on and have it poll my location on a regular basis. I'd still use it's user generated comments feature to find out useful stuff and still check to see who else is nearby. But importantly Mrs S would get more regular reassurances that I'm alive and on the go.
Or to put it more bluntly.... if I turned automatic notifications off, I could understand why she mighy trust a little less.
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