#Checking In Marathon

I conducted a [very unscientific] experiment yesterday.  I had a day full of meetings all over the city, so I decided to conduct a #checkinginmarathon on Foursquare yesterday.  Typically, I check into some places fairly frequently (my yoga studio, interesting restaurants), some less frequently (everyday places like stores and coffee shops if it occurs to me), and some places almost never (I only check in at Columbia b-school when there is an interesting event/cool speaker, otherwise, as @alexandergordon would say, I’d be a nOOb).  I only tweet a small fraction of my check-ins.

For the #checkinginmarathon, I checked in and tweeted everything I did all day.  I added and subtracted points (no rational scale here) for how much utility (or hassle) I got out of the check-in experience. My overall utility score was 6 points, with an average of 0.375 points per check-in for my 16 check-ins. 

On the plus side, I was able to connect spontaneously to friends and save others time.  Maybe I even felt more connected to people as I jumped from place to place.  On the negative, some check-ins were slow or downright failed.  Not to mentioned oversharing on twitter definitely irked some of my followers, so there is a clear long-term risk if I continued to do this.  Net/net, I think I’ll continue to check-in when its not ‘n00by’ but I’ll be conscious of how often I tweet my activities out on twitter. 

Here is my detailed, neurotic, and purely unscientific rating of the experience.

7:52 AM @ Bikram Yoga NYC #standingheadtoknee

+2 Earned 15 points from www.earnedit.com for going to yoga
-1  Despite the fact that I check in here regularly, it doesn’t show up in ‘my favorites’.  Annoyance
-1  Have to search for venue because it doesn’t even show up in ‘nearby’.  Ann oyance

+2 actually did  #standingheadtoknee,  foursquare = i’m more  flexible?!

+2 

10:03 AM  @ Aroma Espresso Bar #coffee

+0 Neutral, Aroma pops up in the list.  No hassle, but no perk

11:18 AM @ CVS Pharmacy # softlips #checkinginmarathon

- 1 Have to search for CVS.  Annoyance

- 1 First CVS in list is no where near where I am.

-2

 11:29 AM @ Snooth HQ #checkinginmarathon meeting with the Lot18 team

-5 My check in does not register.  FAIL.
+1 Ok, maybe its AT&T’s fault

-4 

12:09 PM @ Ace Hotel w/ #checkinginmarathon

+5 Realize @katkarimi is here; spontaneous catch-up since I’m 51 minutes early.
+5 Spontaneous catch-up leads to an intro to a CBS alum

+3 Easily ping @brett1211 and betatest his new app, @sonarme

+14 

+1 Bonus: @sonarme is going to help me get more utility out of check-ins!
+15 you ace the Ace Hotel foursquare!

2:27 PM @Sailthru +checkinginmarathon

+0 Added Sailthru, relatively easy and didn’t expect it to be in the list.
+0 

 Intermittent Tweet….
@alexandergordon
asks me:
Heading for @foursquare's Overshare badge? #achievement

i tweet: having my own personal #checkinginmarathon today on @foursquare and going to write a post later about it on www.stephpalmeri.com

Apparently some people are actually paying attention.  Hmmm, could I be annoying people?

-5 @alexandergordon is annoyed by my checking in
+5 @alexandergordon is annoyed by my checking in

0

3:23 PM @ 71 Irving Place Coffee & Tea Bar “Is that Rachel Dratch in the corner #celebsiting #checkinginmarathon”; meeting w/ @birsic and @joshthebrand

+ 2 @joshthebrand knows I’m here early and avoids going to the wrong place
+2 Rachel Dratch mention prompts former colleague @herzy69 to mock my use of the work ‘celebrity’

+4 foursquare saves @joshthebrand some time

5:34 PM @ Columbia Business School   add category  "Playing señora in negotiations night class. #checkinginmarathon"

-1 @alexandergordon is right, I feel like a nOOb checking into class, whatever that is….
-1 

9:23 PM Toast UWS   add category  "#checkinginmarathon finally eating" w/ joe

+0 I’m here with joe, so knowing he’s here doesn’t do much
+0 

10:52 PM The Parlour #checkinginmarathonw/ @alexandergordon @hatswhatshesaid

+2 no surprise @hatswhatshesaid and @alexandergordon are here, but thanks for heads up
+2 

 Intermittent Tweet…
@jonsoffer writes: @stephpalmeri Thanks you for letting me know where you are at all times

+4 Aw, that’s cute, thanks jon
-10 wait, you and all of my friends have been mocking me all day for oversharing?!

-6 oversharing on twitter really seems to irk people

Daily Utility Score: 16 points
Average Utility per Check-in: 0.375 points


Thoughts on FourSquare (user view)

Now that Facebook has launched the much anticipated Places feature, it’s time for me to write the ‘I got utility from Foursquare … finally!’ post that I’ve been putting off.

I consider myself a relatively early adaptor of Foursquare. I started checking in during early 2009, not long after I made the switch to the iPhone. I was initially curious and recognized future potential in the product as a user and as a profitable business. I didn’t have any active friends on it at the time and I didn’t touch it for the two months I traveled South America (too bad, I’d probably be mayor of Brazil or at least my surf camp).

Anyhow, fast forward a year later, I’ve got a lot more friends, colleagues, and acquaintances on it (critical mass ?!). Yet up until a few weeks ago, when Foursquare naysayers would ask if I ever got any benefit from it, I’d sheepishly admit ‘not yet’.

And then it happened. First, I win concert tickets from Flavorpill to a band I dig (The Local Natives) when I tweeted my check in at Otarian while grabbing lunch (props to @hatswhatshesaid for catching that Flavorpill misspelled my twitter handle). The next day, I’m wandering Williamsburg looking for an unlisted underground event with a friend who forgot the address, so I check what’s trending nearby and voilà. A week later, I’m at PS1’s warmup session and see that a non-foursquare buddy of mine has checked in a few minutes earlier - so we manage to connect in the crowd of thousands.

I haven’t gotten any deals for checking in or been rewarded for my loyalty to venues regardless of whether or not I’m the mayor, but I suspect that it’s only a matter of time before my rewards will be more then a mere badge. That’s when the utility really starts for both sides of the network - users and business partners.


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