Learning to love the check-in

Sep 22, 2011
Tech

In 1959, Elvis Presley put out a compilation called 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong. Countless bands have riffed on that title since then. Now that Foursquare is celebrating its massive milestone, can the cumulative efforts of 1 billion check-ins be so wrong? I’ve been seriously anti-check-in thus far in life. It’s not that I […]

In 1959, Elvis Presley put out a compilation called 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong. Countless bands have riffed on that title since then. Now that Foursquare is celebrating its massive milestone, can the cumulative efforts of 1 billion check-ins be so wrong?

I’ve been seriously anti-check-in thus far in life. It’s not that I don’t go to interesting places, but generally I am too busy enjoying those places to stop, pull out my iPhone, hit the Foursquare app and make my presence known. I may also be a bit lazy.

But 1 billion check-ins is serious business. To celebrate, Foursquare added a feature that might make me actually use the thing. The app now features a “Lists” tab that helps you keep track of places you want to go to as well as places you’ve been that you want to remember. As someone who keeps a notes page on my iPhone with a list of books I intend to read, adding another way to keep a to-do list is a very appealing new feature.

And frankly, Lists tab aside, maybe part of me regrets not being a bigger part of the charge to 1 billion check-ins. I know people who top my 10 check-ins in two years by the end of a weekend.Heck, maybe my indulgence in the world of self-importance doesn’t even have to come via Foursquare. There are plenty of interesting apps that do a similar job.

Loqly (Free) is an app that essentially documents the process that leads to your check-in. You can ask the app a question, “Where can I find a good burrito?” for instance, and let the community guide you to a place that you could check-in to. Granted this isn’t really the same concept of Foursquare, but it’s awfully close.

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For something much more akin to FourSquare there’s Foreca.st. Foreca.st essentially is Foursquare except that you can map out where you place to check-in before you do it. Due to the laziness mentioned above, the idea of pre-check-ins holds tremendous appeal. I realize you can do this already on Foursquare by checking-in to places before you arrive, but that seems dishonest in a way that makes me uncomfortable.

Then there’s Ditto! Again, similar to Foursquare but you can also check-in to ideas as well as places. Want to check-in to note you’re watching a movie? More power to you, but I think that’s a little more check-in than I need.

WeReward is my ideal style of check-in app. Getting paid to check-in or perform menial tasks makes the app more like turning my life into one big scavenger hunt. That’s an idea with some serious appeal. I don’t know how well it actually pays out having never used it, but if it pays out at all that’s worth at least a little bit of my time.

Whichever app I end up settling into during this check-in business, I guess it finally won me over. And you know what, I don’t feel bad about that for a second. After all, 1 billion check-ins can’t be wrong.

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.

 

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