What Is The Point of The Check-In?

What’s the point of the “check-in”? I’ve been pondering this lately as I re-evaluate my various social apps that support this kind of “feature.” Last year I quit Foursquare as I increasingly felt like I wasn’t getting much value out of it. Of course, there are many other social apps like Facebook and Yelp that provide a check-in option as a compliment to their existing service, however, they weren’t built around the check-in per se (more like bolted on after the fact).

The intention of checking in at your favourite restaurant or coffee shop must offer more than just announcing to the world where you are. I’ve been told it allows others to the opportunity to meet up with you if they’re close by. Never have I experienced this. In theory it sounds great that I might be able to spontaneously hang out with a friend of mine if they knew where I am right now. In my experience, this has never worked for me. With Foursquare, I think the main issue was that most of my friends, which pretty much exclusively use Facebook, were not on that service (don’t get me started on people that just friend everyone that sends a request, even if they don’t know them or live in the same city). With Yelp, I have a lot more Facebook friends using it, but not enough to make checking in worth while.

Every since Facebook introduced the check-in with their mobile apps, I’ve seen a large uptake in adoption. My news feed is full of people checking into to places. So what value have I received from this? Absolutely nothing. With every post that I’ve seen from a friend sharing their location, at most I’ve seen comments from other people such as “I love that place” or “I had a bad experience there.” I guess some may find that useful as a means of recommending places to go to. I suppose the notion of checking in will never appeal to me. When a large majority of people are using this feature, all of a sudden receiving push notifications becomes an unbearable feature. There’s little to no value extracted at having twenty push notifications on my lock screen of random places my friends are at. How the hell am I supposed to get anything out of this that’s meaningful? I just can’t see this as being a feature that will have any longevity.