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.