I took a break yesterday morning, poured through my Twitter stream and stumbled on a tweet with a different take on checking in using location-based apps. I figured it looked interesting enough and clicked over. Ah the beauty that is Twitter strikes again! This could not have come at a better time for me. The entire post is over on Hi, I’m Shane Mac and titled Life Is About Reflection & Why The Reason I “Check-In” Isn’t What You Think. Sounds interesting right?! What do I think that I’m wrong about? Marketing, learning more about customer habits, etc? I had no idea but went on to read his post to find out, you should too.
Brief Synopsis: Shane spent four days at a music event in Memphis, TN and decided to check in everywhere he went. His motivation for doing this was for “reflection” not earning points or bragging or any of the other many reasons people enjoy checking in. Reflecting on his trip struck a chord with me as I am heading out west to ski for a week in Colorado on Saturday. My last vacation was two years ago in Jackson Hole, WY. I realized if you asked me the name of anywhere or anything we visited there, I wouldn’t know. I can’t even remember the name of the hotel we stayed at. The only thing I remember is that we snowmobiled in the Gros Ventre wilderness and the only reason I remember it is because my pal Steve kept calling it the “Gross Ventray”.
Foursquare is my location app of choice. I don’t often remember or choose to check-in at a lot of the places I go. Who cares that I’m at the gas station, liquor store or grocery store? Pretty much no one. When I go to someplace I think is different, exciting or cool then I’ll try my best to check-in. What Shane says in his post is absolutely correct – that check-ins create an on-line diary of your experiences in life. They can be made even richer by adding pictures and text as you can see in the screen shot below (which in looking at it now is a pretty boring check-in). The posts can be pushed to your Facebook friend and Twitter followers.
If I’m diligent on checking in and taking pictures and writing some good notes I’ll have a permanent log of where I went and saw on my ski adventure. I LOVE this idea and I’m totally looking forward to creating it. If I am successful then I’m going to check out weeplaces.com where the check-ins are visualized on a map as another way of seeing them. **Update: Be sure to check out the comment left by Pete on plotting your Foursquare check-ins on Google Maps. How cool is that?!!
While I’m away, I’ve actually scheduled a post on Foursquare and our offer with your first check-in at Comfort Inn Middletown-Red Bank. Be sure to stop back in next week to find out what it is.
Are you using a location-based smart phone app like Foursquare, Gowalla or Facebook Places? Would you use it to chronicle a trip or event or use something else? Leave me your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love hear from you.