Don’t be a Foursquare pawn!

Are you a Foursquare pawn? {and now “Swarm?”}

For the people that choose to spend their time doing real things – peeling back the layers of what other folks are wasting time with can be fascinating. In today’s case – we talk about the Foursquare “app” and their new sidekick Swarm.

swarm turn life into a game - Don't be a Foursquare pawn!

To those that might not know what these things are, they’re essentially a form of social media, which is location-based. Most of those locations are businesses.

Up until recently – Foursquare lived by itself. Instead of simply going to a restaurant or bar or gym and enjoying your moments, people and their smartphones “checked in” to those locations. And as they built up points, stats, or whatever – they were “awarded” meaningless things such as “badges” or rewards for simply living life. People got addicted to this regimen, and the Foursquare founders became rich as a result.

Fast forward to today – and Foursquare now has TWO “apps” which work in conjunction with each other. The Foursquare “app,” where you get reviews and tips, and the new Swarm “app” where you check-in, find friends, and like they say, “make your life a fucking game.” That’s right. A game. Points, rewards, become some fictitious “mayor” of whatever spot you often frequent.

So stupid and meaningless. One day people will look back at us and say “they did that stupid shit? Haha!”

swarm earn coins - Don't be a Foursquare pawn!

Underneath the psychological manipulation – you are the pawn!

Now here’s the thing. You might truly “enjoy” this pseudo-life you live inside that digital app. You might gain “warmth” by connecting digitally and remotely with pixels on a tiny screen. Heck, if you feel good about it – what’s the harm, right?

That is a fair point. It’s not like human beings can do much other these days. We don’t farm. We don’t chop trees in order to stay warm. No. Everything is “ready made” and pre-packaged for you to use. Electricity. Food. Travel. You pretty much don’t have to do anything other than figure out some way to trade your time for monetary units to exchange for those ready-made things that you used to be able to do for yourself.

earn prizes swarm app - Don't be a Foursquare pawn!

What do you REALLY get for playing that game?

Besides some trivial entertainment, a sense of competition, OCD, or whatever – the fact that they’ve carefully constructed what boils down to an addictive “game” for you to play. They even have the balls to call it a game!

Real life is not a game, but when you actually lay in bed at night and think about how many “coins” you’ll rack up this week – you got a serious fucking problem.

By essentially TRICKING and LURING people into this fake world – you’ve become part of their system. They have 75 million+ spots to “check in,” half a billion photos YOU TOOK, and other data VOLUNTARILY submitted by people playing that “game.”

And you get no benefit from that data-mining. THEY DO. They sell it, market it, and re-package for THEIR benefit.

Sure, one could argue that the players of the game also benefit by the “sharing” back of that data – but not really. (Have you seen how companies withhold “real” data to coerce businesses into paying them a ransom?)

There is a better way. It’s been there forever.

We’ve always had ways to find good things in life. Ever hear of “word of mouth?” What about “experimentation” or “trial and error?”

Is the “old way” truly antiquated? Or are they just leading you to believe that there is more value in the “new way?”

The way people used to discover new things, vet businesses out, or go off the beaten path used to be organic and personal. Now it’s become a social mechanism that has lost most of it’s personality. Sort of like the difference between vinyl and mp3 – but much worse.

Again, these new-fangled “apps” might very well provide a thing or two that is good – but I suspect the general effect they’re having on the mindset of their millions of users will prove to be overwhelmingly detrimental in the long run.

We’ll stick to the old-fashioned way forever.

foursquare pawn swarm app - Don't be a Foursquare pawn!

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