For the past few weeks, I have been reading tweets and Facebook updates about the “all new Foursquare.” Foursquare, a location-based social networking website, made major changes to their app this week. When I heard that Foursquare was making changes, I got very excited because I have been a big Foursquare fan and user since its early days. However, as I read about the speculated changes, I developed concerns.
As soon as the update was available yesterday, I installed it on my phone. My worries were immediately confirmed. If you read my blog posts frequently, you will know that I absolutely LOVE social networking. However, you will also know that I think that there is an issue with networking and net-stalking.
One of my favorite features about the “old Foursquare” was that there was an element of privacy. I liked that it was different from Facebook and Twitter. If a friend made a new contact on Foursquare, that was his or her own business. With the recent update, I can now see the names of the people with whom my contacts are connecting. That means that whenever I accept someone as a new contact, MY name will go into that person’s feed for all of THEIR contacts to see. I do not know how comfortable I am with that.
Additionally, Foursquare now allows users to see all the recent check-ins of contacts. The “old Foursquare” simply posted the most recent check-in. I do not like the idea of knowing every single place that my friends check-in because I do not think that I need that much information. Likewise, I do not like the idea that people can see my location trail. In my humble opinion, the most recent check-in (or perhaps the two most recent check-ins) is enough information. I think that the ability to follow someone’s whereabouts so closely can cause issues for Foursquare. I might be wrong but I think that this recent change might incentivize people to check-in “off the grid” more often which will defeat Foursquare’s purpose.
Foursquare is a free app and I realize that I can use it or choose not to use it. Until now, I have been a big Foursquare fan but I am going to be rethinking in what way and how often I will use it. For now, I will only be checking-in at certain locations and making more of my check-ins “off the grid.” Foursquare is taking suggestions from users and working out kinks so perhaps there will be more changes to come.