Foursquare / Swarm – a total car crash

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Today was the first day that I was bullied into downloading Swarm.

Foursquare has been an App that I have used for some time, it has been up and down but I decided that it will be a great digital scrap book of all the places I have visited and so use it mostly abroad. In recent months, especially with my time in New York, I have really started to appreciate the fact I can find recommended places to eat and drink. Even better I have started to see my friends and colleagues and whether they have eaten there before. Bottom line, it became so much more useful than just the checking in App.

Then comes the Swarm messages. A few weeks of warnings, every message telling me I should download Swarm because it’s great! I will love it! Well I am now witnessing one of the biggest car crashes of modern App / digital times. In fact I am flabbergasted that anyone thought this dual App approach was good. So basically my user experience today was to be forced to download Swarm. I go back to recommendations on the restaurant we had pulled up at in foursquare and then I wanted to check in, so they throw me back to swarm, I then click on user comments and I am flung back to Foursquare, who then asked me if I wanted a sneak peak at their new Foursquare lay out?! It was the worst planned process I have ever seen from a company that was relatively bedded in to the social marketplace.

The user experience is a disgrace – if you have to flip back and forth between Apps then it’s likely you only need one. Could they really not make that work? Most user backlash has focused on the fact that they search for places, find them and check in. Natural flow of events. I know the sales speak, they need to grow their user base, capitalise on their opportunity and not be hamstrung by checkins but this is not the way to do it. The reason is there are so many ways to get recommendations and by splitting those two elements you have now thrown foursquare back into the pool of competition to search for nearby places to eat. Before they were gathering a loyal base who were becoming more and more active and using both recommendations and checkins together now they just pissed them all off.

I have seen the feedback and I am yet to see anything positive. I keep reading about bravery and big changes for the better but if you have to flick multiple times between two apps, you will lose a lot of followers and Facebook will be there to clean up. I may be wrong but I will not be surprised to see checkin back within foursquare pretty quickly because today I was stung by a Swarm and feel no desire to go back to it, especially if it just fires me back to Foursquare. The only Swarm they will have are users leaving the hive.

Business cards the sex end of business courtship

I realized the other day that I had been in touch with someone at work for weeks and had never seen so much as a business email or phone number. Or that I had lost the number of one of my best friends from University and yet had never lost touch. Staying in touch now is through a plethora of different channels where they do the hard work for you.

There was a time when my contacts in my phone were like gold dust, a pain to lose and painful to replace and yet now I am less precious about it all because some kind website or other has those people just a click away. My roller deck is kind of old fashioned looking, every time I deal my way through business cards I do think how backward it all feels.

I find now with such a connected world that I am approached by a mixture of friends and business colleagues through any number of channels. Sometimes it’s a tweet, but that is still not quite there yet as many of my friends have just reached Facebook so Twitter is like a distant dream. Work people on the other hand, far more, starts with a Tweet and then it’s like a courtship depending on the keenness of both parties as to how quickly it progresses! Is it straight to sharing emails? Perhaps a dalliance around Linkedin, takes things on a step further without full exposure of details..it’s an interesting progression. Perhaps this is why we have cards, it’s like consummation, you have been on an electronic courtship and now you have met and been able to exchange paper titles and verify you are both real.

Once you have crossed all the barriers then you can contact people in so many ways, I have often checked my work email to find that note someone sent me to no avail, ah well it must be in Linkedin, nope, Facebook and on it goes, Foursquare has now moved the game on to straight stalking. I said no the other day to a couple of people, last thing I want is a couple of weirdos following me around and trying to sell me data!

All of this of course means we hardly pick up the phone, the calls are drying up and texts and FB and LI are taking over, you don’t need a call, you just saw them check in at Soho House. I think generally we are over calls and cards. Maybe not the girls, but the boys definitely, It’s always better face to face, so let’s use every means of technical kit to get us face to face and so we can get down to the serious business of exchanging old pieces of worn out card..

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