The pattern repeats itself; New phone app comes out. A review lauds its "game-changing" nature. A few weeks later someone points out that the game really wasn't changed after all. Ho hum.
Enter Foursquare. If you've not heard of Foursquare, you likely don't have an iPhone or an Android-based phone, or you don't go out for food, coffee, or drinks. For the uninitiated, the smart phone application blends Big Brother social networking media with a GPS-activated city guide and a game. So what's wrong with it? Only this, points out a Slate article. It seems the writer believes that the application takes the fun out of socializing by turning it into a competition. Sounds like high school.Simply put, you and your friends "compete" to see and do the most things in a city. You earn points and badges when you "check in" to places via your phone's app. Visit the same spot enough and you earn "mayor" status. Bars, diners, coffee shops, and even mass transit have jumped into the mix offering discounts or freebies for the latest mayor of their place. (Well mainly joints in Seattle, San Francisco and New York where geek density reaches critical mass.) So what's the problem?
Well, as Slate writer Jessica Grose argues, Foursquare is in "a sort of popularity paradox: The app is only appealing to an extroverted, urban demographic, and if the user base expands dramatically, those core proponents will no longer find Foursquare so addictive."
We'll see if its popularity kills it. As of now, Foursquare freebies are popping up all over the Seattle food and bar scene. What's more likely to kill it is competing apps soon to come out from Google, Twitter and others.