I resign (as mayor)

It would seem that I am now the mayor of:

And yet, I’ve had enough.

Is it the glory of it all? The weight of the bling? (hardly). 

No, it’s much more mundane than that. I’m fed up with it all. Gowalla too – I’ve already deleted them both from my iPad and will soon delete them from my iPhone too.

I wrote about my experiment with situational social applications last month – https://eduvel.wordpress.com/2011/05/20/gowalla-and-foursquare/ – and wondered then just how worthwhile they would turn out to be. Well, for me, they have not turned out to be worthwhile at all and have been constantly frustrating.

My main problem is that I cannot register my presence at every place I want to. Foursquare constantly tells me that there’s something wrong with my connection to the internet – yet everything else still works (even Gowalla, which was at first just as erratic). I find this very frustrating.

It’s even more frustrating when the only reason I can see for using the App is the competitive element of it. I’m always just in front of, or just behind John Popham and Alison Lones but never in the lead because James Clay seems to register every step he takes 🙂

The other day, I was in Slaithwaite post office and noted that it wasn’t registered, so I set out to do so but the App refused to let me because (I assume) ‘post office’ was already registered (although nowhere to be seen on the system). It has also been know to tell me that I’m too far away from the point I’m trying to register my presence at e.g. Clacket Lane Services, even when I’m stood in the car park!

Enough. I resign.

Ensuing discussions:

http://elearningstuff.net/2011/06/19/e-learning-stuff-podcast-077-i-resign-as-mayor/
http://tech.jamesclay.net/?p=2011&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook

Other views:

http://www.dontwasteyourtime.co.uk/technology/foursquare-getting-the-students-to-go-outside/

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Gowalla and Foursquare

I have become quite alarmed recently as several people have inquired about my sobriety. Oh dear, how can this be? I like a pint of beer – but not so much or so often that people should feel the need to mention it?

What can be the cause?

Some months ago. I took to using situational social Apps like Gowalla and Foursquare as I moved about the country. These Apps just sit on my phone and use GPS to register (with my instigation) my presence in place ‘a’ or place ‘b’.

I started with Gowalla for no other reason than it seemed to be the one least used by friends. I had thought there were too many of my Facebook ‘friends’ using Foursquare and that Gowalla needed some attention.

I started by noting my presence at a number of venues already registered with Gowalla and then as I became more used to the system, I registered a number of venues on the system myself. These venues included the local village, where I shop, the local pub where Sharon and I might meet after work for a drink before dinner and the local bakers – which is a real delight. All was going well until my connection to the Gowalla servers became very erratic. Some registrations wouldn’t load while others just disappeared. I found this frustrating and decided to reconsider my actions.

Although I have no real reason to use these tools for my own satisfaction, they are systems I felt that I should experience and research as part of my wider work role as the use of virtual and situational services has great potential. Gowalla’s lack of reliability made me move over to Foursquare – I didn’t particularly want to, but my peers were saying “use ‘Foursquare’ Dave”.

So, on Foursquare I can (and have) now become the ‘Mayor’ of various places. I become mayor by being the person that attends/visits a venue/location most frequently in the previous 30 days (don’t quote me on that, I’m working from received wisdom here). Each visit to a registered site gains me points which then show on a leader board that shows how you compare to your other friends. So an element of competition does creep in here, which makes Foursquare a little more user friendly than Gowalla. There are other services – I just haven’t used them much yet.

The big problem is, as alluded to above, people now think that I am a alcoholic!

Many of the venues already registered on Foursquare and Gowalla are social venues like nightclubs, pubs and restaurants. These are the sort of venues that people go to to relax and perhaps stay for longer than one might if buying a pack of aspirin at the chemist (although some chemists are registered). It’s much easier therefore to register your presence at a venue where drink is served than where you might buy milk or petrol. And I do!

What I don’t do, is register my presence at every place I visit (they may not be registered or I may not have the time or inclination) or at home – somewhere I spend that vast majority of my time. Giving the exact location of your home may well be folly – especially if you happen to note that you are going on holiday soon. The pub visits therefore stand out and even if they are at the end of (or in the middle of) one of the beautiful walks we have around my locality they just make me seem like an alcoholic.

Hic.