Why I still use Foursquare

Foursquare, some people think you are so over.

When I read Jim Mitchem’s manifesto on why he no longer uses Foursquare, I nodded my head and understood. I agreed, even.

But there’s a difference between Jim and me. I have some Foursquare ”friends” who used to be my actual real life friends. We checked in a lot together. It was fun, in a juvenile way. It was about the camaraderie, not the badges.

Now I suppose those people truly are just Foursquare “friends,” and not actual friends, because I just don’t plain old don’t like being around them anymore, even though we used to be quite close.

The feeling is mutual, for all sorts of reasons. Most have all the charm of middle school squabbles. Some are more serious than that. At the time the way the situation played out was painful, but a few months after the fact it more laps at digging discomfort.

So here’s why I still use Foursquare:  I can track the moves of people I don’t necessarily want to see. That way I can avoid them in my little bubble of a neighborhood, or I can be ready for some thorny eye-cutting, whispers, and distressed body language. This happens while my heart beats in my ears, screaming at me to fight or fly when I’m faced with it.

It’s hard for me to pretend that I don’t see people whom I once held dear, even if it is the best thing for me. The childish part of me wants to give them the Stink Eye or flip them off or worse, but I know that will only feel good for a second.

I’m not using Foursquare to pander to a silly social network that is not meeting its potential. I’m using it for self-preservation.

I’ll also admit to still using it for the same reason I have always used it, which is that I like for other people to know I’m having a good time. Or that I’m having a better time than they are right that second.

Don’t pretend like you don’t do it, too. Maybe you aren’t doing it on Foursquare, but Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like all have that “Highlight Reel” pretense. Anyone using any social networks buys into it at least a little bit.

The truth is that most of the time I’m at home doing less than fun activities like laundry, dishes and bathroom floor sanitizing. (You know that book Everyone Poops? Well at my house, some of us poop on the floor here and there. Good times.)

I know that everyone else is mostly likely doing things they’d rather not be doing for at least part of the time, too. But as long as people keep checking in on Foursquare, I’ll have an idea of when and where they are, and whether I care to be there with them.

Tricia Oakes

Southern Spark

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