Good bye Foursquare!
Thank you @dens,
thank you for the last 5 years I have been using Foursquare. It was a great time. Actually Foursquare was one of my most favorite social/digital inventions I have seen over the last years. I was using it a lot. But it seems I was using it very different than most of the users. I don’t want to talk about the design. There are better people who can talk about it. I actually want to talk about it as a heavy user, a “Superuser Level 2″.
Within the first year or so it was fun to check-in as often as possible, fighting with others about mayorships and getting these funny badges. I also remember that in early 2010 we, back then a small agency for digital marketing and communication, used Foursquare to hide recipe recommendations in super markets as trials for marketing. We left them as tips within locations. I think tips were incredible useful.
I used Foursquare to find and collect places. A useful thing are the photos. It was a shame photos were not added with comments. Thereby you knew for example if the food looks good but don’t know if it was good or bad. Later it was possible to add photos to tips. When Instagram started and it was strongly connected to Foursquare I always wished that the caption of the Instagram photos that were added to Foursquare locations would be added in Foursquare as well, but that never happened. Then Instagram was bought by Facebook and a strong link was missing.
Well, it was a shame that the linking between both apps was gone but you can’t blame Foursquare for it.
A while ago they started to separate Foursquare into two different things. Into Foursquare and Swarm. Swarm is the one thing I didn’t care about in Foursquare the whereabouts of “friends”. I just don’t care where my friends are checked in. I wanted to see that places people saved and where they added recommendations. But you got rid of that too. In the brand new app I can see the latest recommendations but no saves and especially not if they added them to lists.
Foursquare was really useful to me. For two things:
1. Recommendations, of the things I should get at places. Especially what dishes are recommended in restaurants, or not recommended. The ratings were bullshit. If I am looking for a good coffee place most of the time anything pops up, even Starbucks (or Tschibo in Germany). The recommendation system just doesn’t work, NEVER in social media things. You want to know why? Because it is based on quantitive ratings. “People who liked this, also liked this.” “People wo bought this, also bought this.” Likes, check-ins… I don’t even know what Foursquare uses to rate a location. On the other hand the recommendations I referred to at the beginning of this paragraph are useful because they are qualitative and take time. It takes more time to write a comment about a place than pressing one button.
Now Foursquare is more and more based on quantitative recommendations and ratings. Tell me if you like Schnitzel or Burritos and I tell you where to get Schnitzel or Burritos. I don’t think that is smart. It is just stupid algorithm logic but not social or human logic. A foodie is less interested in places which 1,204 people commented on “Good Schnitzel” but they are looking for the exact place that fit their taste. And now it’s harder to find this place. Why? Because point two is getting less important for Foursquare.
2. Point two is: lists. I loved making lists on Foursquare. I love making lists in general. For example I love Svpply and I love it that Ben Pierrat recreates Svpply with Very Goods. I was really happy that the funding succeeded. Lists on Foursquare are really useful. So far I created more than 40 lists. Based on cities, on areas, based on culinary things, like coffee places or burger places. I even created lists out of top 10 lists from magazines or blogs. I just created a list for Brussels, because we are going there soon. When I create a list, I look up stuff from Unlike, Spotted by locals, on NotVentures and ask on twitter and facebook for tips. And a very important aspect is serendipity, whenever I see a location I am interested in, I save it. For example, when I watch food shows like Antony Bordain’s Parts Unknown I collect certain places.
Now that part is almost gone. You can still see your lists. But when you want to save a location now, it is just saved, but you can’t add it to a certain list anymore. Only as saved places, and you see them only in your current area. I bet soon lists are gone completely, it doesn’t make any sense if you have lists but can’t add any places anymore.
Basically everything is based on your current location and the time now. And that is also a thing I am not that interested in. I wanted to go on searches, discover places and save them for later, make travel plans with Foursquare? Why? Because it was the only tool, the only app that worked for this.
Oh, and by the way it is no fun to use it anymore. Two apps, completely different user experiences, switching, getting lost, being frustrated. I am just annoyed and sad. (I honestly don’t get that the apps have different user experiences? I work for the Design Team of Deutsche Telekom and we are working for 4 years now to bring the experiences of different apps/services closer together, so people don’t get lost, remember things, feel more connected to the brand. You did the complete opposite. That just feels weird.)
A while ago I got an email about saying thank you for staying with Foursquare five years. Now I say thank you and good bye. I hope someone will start a kicktstarter for a travel recommendation serivce - a combination of dopplr and Foursquare – both two tools I really have loved. I would support it, I would even like to be part of it.
Thank you, Foursquare, thank you and good bye.
P.S. – A fun fact: A while ago you offered a job as a Creative Project Manager. I really thought about applying. Now I just would love to join your team to make Foursquare awesome again.
UPDATE: @dens (CEO of Foursquare and Swarm) just replied to me on twitter:
— Dennis Crowley (@dens) August 6, 2014
UPDATE II: @dens (CEO of Foursquare and Swarm) replied again on twitter:
— Dennis Crowley (@dens) September 2, 2014