Checking Out

Yesterday I tweeted something like “No, I get the value of location based services. I am a marketer by day. Which is why I DON’T share my location by night.” I tweeted that flippantly, but then over lunch alone in San Francisco, I spent some time thinking about it. It’s true- I’m over checking in. I’m actively checking out…but it hasn’t always been that way. I was an early adopter of gowalla and foursquare. Such an early adopter that it was zero fun because no one I knew was doing anything on either platform, in fact, I thought it was dumb because it was so boring.

Then my friends started to join…and I was constantly getting notifications about where they were eating, who they were ousting as mayor, and which badge they just unlocked, and I thought it was dumb because for the most part, I didn’t care about any of these events. Furthermore, I didn’t want to share my location and activities with all of these people. So I checked out. And apparently, I’m not the only one who has.

This morning I read an article on Read Write Web called “The Year the Check-In Died” and in summary, the author’s point is that check-ins are faltering and will continue to decrease this year, and that LBS platforms will really only have a chance if they figure out how to go beyond the check-in. (Much like my obsession with taking brands beyond the like or the follow). And the only way to do that is to remember why people check-in anyway.

1) Finding people near you, serendipity (great in big cities, but not so much in Austin Texas)
2) Points and rewards (and something beyond mayorship- people don’t care about that anymore)
3) To remember things (especially with tracking tools that map out where you’ve been over time)
4) Personal branding (braggery- which is honestly how I feel most people are using this)The assumption by RWW is that LBS platforms and marketers aren’t taking these behaviors into account to make the action relevant or meaningful enough. And I think that’s true- but beyond that- I think there is a shift happening, and more and more people are beginning to understand the implications of our hyper-transparent behaviors and thereby beginning to value privacy. I know I am. So while I’m a marketer by day and I understand all the amazing data that can come from people baring their souls online, I am first and foremost a consumer, and because of that, I am checking out. However, like I said, I am also a marketer, and that leads me to wonder what does this mean for LBS and the brands I work with?

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