The Professor's wisdom and insight
I do it. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit some of the reasons but here goes:* FourSquare: The game aspect. You get points, not for any reason other than having points (they are NOT refundable for goods or services), and you are ranked in relation to your friends week on week. Some people play games where they click on virtual cows all day - I personally don't understand that - but I can see the that the core compulsions are similar.* The voyeur aspect. Checkins give you snap shots of what is happening and what has happened at a location. In the case of some networks who is here now. Also "tips" (FourSquare) are fascinating in their random and bizarre nature in their own right. (I once got passcode to business lounge showers.)* The social aspect #1 - self promotion. You want your life to seem interesting, you want to post occasional status updates, you want to be short, witty and interesting. BUT you'll settle for a checkin. Checkins to some destinations start comment threads.* The social aspect #2 - meeting people you know face to face. This relies on volume and hasn't happened to me yet, but in some US cities amongst certain peer groups it only takes a certain critical mass before you can see (when heading out) where "the crowd" actually are.* Payola for consumer, promotion for destination. As we have seen with Starwood and some others, promotions (actual SPG points) can be tied to checkins. The checkins themselves promote the location. Much more visible (and I would say effective) in FourSquare, I would still say encouraging check-in in Facebook or geo-tagged tweets in Twitter are in a destination's best interest if it is trying to attract visitors.
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