The Case for Checking in
Lately I’ve been having frequent conversations with “normal” people about check-in services like Gowalla and Foursquare (GeoSocial for short) and it seems like many have the same question,
I don’t get the whole check-in thing, why do you use it?
Normally its asked by someone that has seen friends check-in and is slightly interested but hasn’t really discovered a reason they should use it. My 2 part answer:
Geosocial invites my online community to influence my offline world.
Say you love the “Baked Salmon Sushi” at a particular restaurant and you leave that recommendation as a tip or highlight. If we’re friends on the service then when I visit I see your suggestion. I can name hundreds of examples but they all have the common thread of GeoSocial info improving my experience. I call it insider trading in the real world.
Check-ins create conversation.
I checked in at a popular restaurant today and mentioned it was my first visit, withing minutes my Twitter friends sent 5 replies suggesting I try the yeast roll. Big deal right? Actually it is.
These seeming mundane yet personal shares really connects us with a community. Just this past week my friend @willie discovered where I got engaged through a Gowalla highlight. I know that because he tweeted me.
I’ve learned so much about my friends and my world through these services and that’s why I use them.
Still not convinced? Check out Discovering the value in GeoSocial.
A final word – Moderation is key, don’t push every check in to every social network.
PS: If you’re wondering, yes I use both. I enjoy Foursquare for the tips & love the experience and trips in Gowalla. They both have their strengths. If you decide to join you can find me on Gowalla and Foursquare.