While the industry will debate the value of a check-in, more and more developers are coming up with unique ways to quantify and visualize your activity on foursquare and other location-based services (LBS). WeePlaces immediately comes to mind. It’s so captivating to trace your steps from point to point. Their site is great and cute and absolutely entertaining, but what purpose does it serve really? Lately I’ve been getting emails from Foursquare and Seven Years Ago, another cool take on the foursquare API. The email comes daily and it tells me where I was one year ago based on my check-ins. When I first signed up in December of last year, my alerts were few and far between, a friendly reminder that I didn’t have a smartphone at the time and was checking in on an iPod Touch. Now, as I come up on my one year anniversary of graduating from the Newhouse Master’s program, I’ve been receiving daily alerts of where I was exactly one year ago.
Some of the check-ins were pretty personal; like that time that awesome girl and I snuck out to grab a burger right before Ale n Angus Pub closed. When I relive where I was day-by-day, it’s easy to be flooded with memories conjured up by my check-ins. So what does this mean for business? Well if my example above doesn’t clue you in, it’s about memories. Sure, this is one case of a site throwing the memories directly in your face, but think about what it means to put something down in writing. When I tweet, Facebook or check-in I’m documenting something worth sharing. I’m taking an action, which in the case of a check-in, marks an event, a visit, or an experience. If your place of business isn’t on foursquare, you may just be missing out on that (potential) emotional attachment to your brand. Just something to consider next time you debate the value of a check-in… – Nick Cicero