If you haven’t heard about it yet, Foursquare recently split their app in two and released Swarm. And I’m angry about it. Well, as angry as I can be at a mobile app, which is not much.
It was about the same time as Skype released a complete redesign which also wasn’t popular, so the Swarm split was commonly dismissed as users resisting change. Just like every time Facebook changes its news feed, people go nuts about it.
To me, Foursquare always had three use cases (there might be more that didn’t apply to me):
- Seeing where your friends are. Since I don’t have many local friends that use it, it was only mildly useful on company meetups and conferences. This is the goal of Swarm.
- Discovering new places, the goal of the new Foursquare app. Quite useful (specially when traveling) and I’m sure it’ll still excel at this.
- The game. Not everything is about utility, and sometimes I wondered why I even bothered checking in, but it was fun. The mayorships, the leaderboards, the badges, the competition. The 200+ hours I spent in Battlefield 3 were not precisely “useful” either, but I even paid money for those.
I’d say the outrage is due to most of “the game” being gone. You might think this is just another case of users angry about losing features, but I think there’s more to it.
To me, there was an implicit social contract between Foursquare and its users:
You give us this check in game and we’ll help you build a database of places
Now the database is built, and apparently ready to be monetized, and the game is gone.
I’ve used foursquare since 2010, submitted a bunch of new places, sent corrections whenever I found errors or duplicates, and even considered applying to be a superuser.
I feel betrayed.
It might be their right as a private company, but it’s also mine to stop contributing to it. So I’m uninstalling foursquare today.
Update: I was thinking about deleting my account, and it’s funny how almost half their excuses for not deleting your account aren’t there anymore