The past years location-based social networking websites and apps have flourished. Foursquare, GoWalla and Facebook (to name a few) lets you share your location with your friends, followers or contacts. By making use of the check-in function, you share your location, what you are doing there and who is there with you.
The check-ins are catching on, in 2010 Foursquare experienced a 3400% growth(!) in check-ins (http://tiny.cc/1e0p2) – Why this massive growth, and why are people doing this? I mean, why share your location and whereabout for everyone to see? What is the use of the “X just check-in at Home” or “X is at the pub with Y and Z”. Other than to your potential stalkers, to who and how does this have any value?
I can mainly answer for me self, I started making use of different check-in functions earlier this year and it seems like my check-ins are getting more and more frequent. I came up with three reasons for why check-ins appeal to me, and maybe also others.
Mainly when I check-in to places, it is because there is something in it for me. A lot of businesses are starting to realize the marketing value of people checking in to their store or cafe. People value other peoples opinion. If your friends likes the coffee at a special coffee shop, chances are you’ll give it a try too. In June this year, Facebook Check-in Deals was launched in Norway offering special deals to customers, big brands such as IKEA and McDonalds was on board from the start offering special treats for customers that bothered checking in.
Some check-ins are not about getting a discount or a free beverage with your hamburger. IKEA gives 1 NOK to Unicef for every check-in at any of their stores. Success is the sum of small efforts, and it gives you a good reason for taking lots of trips to IKEA!
My gym has not yet offered me any special deals for checking in there once a while, neither has the airport or any fancy restaurant I have checked-in to so far. So what is in it for me then? The nice answer is: To share a personal story with the people in our lives. The mean ( but true?) answer: It is done by the same reason as we all (or most of us?) post Facebook statuses such as “Amazing party last night. Thanks to all my awesome friends!!” or “I just completed a triathlon, so hard but so good!” It has big bragging value – look at me, see how cultivated I am ( museum check-in) or how sporty I am ( gym check-in).
Your turn – Do you check-in? Why/ why not?