All Things Ellie

It's like Sex and the Suburbs and 30 Rock all rolled into one…


I should probably begin this by admitting that I’m almost thirty, and that while I love what technology can do to improve life, I’m a bit of a Luddite. I do not have the latest smartphone, nor do I really care that much to have one. I’m fine with only having two portable objects that connect to the internet – my iTouch and netbook. Okay, count the not so light laptop with the dying battery and I have three. I just don’t need another thing to check my email or twitter on. I am also going to admit that my parents are babyboomers and combined with the year I was born, that puts me solidly in Generation X. So while all the young kids have their cellphones out all the time, I know when it is polite to put the phone in the purse.

However there are times where technology hinders life. Foursquare, a new social networking tool, is absolutely one of those things that is slowly driving me surely mad. Basically, after you sign up for the service, you can “check-in” at various locations all across the country. There are badges to be won and other awards, such as becoming the “mayor” of a locale for checking in the most of anyone in the area. In theory it seems like a cute way to announce to the world that you’re at a pretty neat place, whether it be a fab bar, a great new restaurant or fun park.

Except that sometimes theory and practice aren’t the same.

Imagine going out for drinks with friends. Everyone meets up, grabs chairs around a table, and shrugs off the parkas upstate New York demands in January. After sitting down and making the obligatory introductions and hellos, everyone pulls out their cellphones to check-in at foursquare. Any conversation between people must take a backseat to narcissistic behavior. It’s happened to me on more than once in a one on one situation which is the height of awkwardness. In one case someone had to check-in that they were at a gas station. Yes, announcing to the world that you are pumping gas at the Mobile is so much more important than actually interacting with humans that are your friends.

Social networking and blogging demands a bit of narcissism from its participants. However, I do not need to be updated that you are at work or the time you arrived from yet another tool. Your tweets about your job tells me enough. I don’t need the address and a link to googlemaps. I understand I’m being a cranky old woman in this, but I’m tired of technology breeding what is actual rudeness. One does not need to log into a social networking tool the minute they meet up with people to announce they are at a location.  I’m less inclined to feel that twittering about who you’re with is rude because it’s inclusive. As to date, foursquare in the instances I’ve seen it does not allow the user to say that one is at the mall with their two best friends.

Alright, that’s an end to this rant about foursquare. It’s not for me, and if you want to be polite, use it in the car before you meet up with people.

8 comments on “Foursquare

  1. dozenroses13
    January 16, 2010

    I try to get Michael to realize that checking his blackberry during dinner is rude. He disagrees and it pisses me off!
    Though the one time I seem to let him slide is at Tweet-ups because everyone there loves to Tweet….

    The problem I see with 4square is that you’re announcing to the world “Hey! I’m not home” Prime time to rob my house. Not to say I never mention that I’m going out somewhere online, but to be doing it on a constant basis just seems to be asking for trouble to me….

  2. Kevin Marshall
    January 16, 2010

    To the people that use FourSquare: little do you know that a lot of people – like me – are seeing those automatically generated Tweets announcing where you are and saying to themselves “of course that annoying whiny asshole goes to that annoying whiny asshole place.”

    You wish I was lying or joking.

  3. Andrew Badera
    January 16, 2010

    Given a particular instance of drinks in upstate NY, if everyone hadn’t arrived at the same time, it wouldn’t have been an issue, would it? Say if someone had gone straight inside, rather than waiting outside for a foursquare hater who pulled into the lot right after 😛

    In general yes abandoning your friends and tablemates for the company of your wireless device is rude. That said, if there are still plenty of people involved in the conversation, keeping everyone entertained, then I see nothing wrong with pulling out your smartphone, or even non-smartphone, and checking in with foursquare, or popping off a quick tweet or pic.

    Foursquare is definitely a marketing gimmick, but hey, they gotta make money somehow, right? For me, as someone who just doesn’t get out much, I like the metrics and graphs they maintain on your outings.

  4. ellsbells
    January 16, 2010


    Like I said, I’m less inclined to think a quick tweet is rude because it’s inclusive and gets people talking. People usually list who they are out with as @replies or giggle and show each other the tweets. Logging into foursquare and announcing your location is not inclusive. While there may be conversation going, the person logging in is actively removing themselves. It’s not like going to the bathroom, which is a biological function. And I just think that’s kinda rude.

    • Andrew Badera
      January 16, 2010

      But a foursquare checkin is quick as well. It’s a matter of moments and it’s over. And as it grows (it only just went live “everywhere” ~2 weeks ago) I think you’ll find it to also be a lot more inclusive, and fun.

  5. Andrew Badera
    January 18, 2010

    foursquare foursquare foursquare! 😉

    • ellsbells
      January 19, 2010

      I’m not saying that Foursquare isn’t a potentially fun and rewarding tool, like facebook or twitter. On the other hand, it’s application is rude. That’s all I’m saying.

      • Andrew Badera
        January 19, 2010

        I hear ya. That can be applied to most things in life however 🙂

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This entry was posted on January 16, 2010 by in how a computer affects ones life, I'm an old woman, manners.
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