End User social networking

Man flings bling in farewell to 4sq – renounces location based networking

I, Trefor Davies, being of sound mind and disposition, hereby declare that I have deleted the Foursquare app from my Samsung Galaxy S2 and intend to take no further active role with said location based social media platform.

This act, performed arguably whilst I was on a roll – ranking 4th amongst my contemporaries and rising in the 4sq table, is done to save my sanity and that of my children and to free up a significant portion of my weekend, recently dedicated to “checking in” at every location I thought I could get away with without being blamed for “rapid fire checkins”.

There are a number of reasons for this highly public (visible to everyone on the planet with an internet connection) position statement.

  • Firstly I found myself stopping the car outside places just in order to be able to check in. This even extended to taking detours to places that I had not previously checked in to in order to get bonus points for new locations.
  • Secondly I found myself more and more regularly checking in to places only to find messages telling me I was lying (your phone doesn’t think it is anywhere near said place). This happened a few times over the weekend including Sunday afternoon when I was sat in the snug of The Strugglers pub on Westgate in Lincoln (I am mayor of The Strugglers – not as difficult a feat as it might sound as you only need to have visited somewhere twice to achieve this status). My efforts to “play” were being undermined by the unreliability of either the 4sq platform or its relationship with the mobile networks.
  • Thirdly my kids were starting to get annoyed & were playing the neglectful parent card, the little rascals.

I started the 4sq journey to see where it would take me. My conclusion is that it is too oriented in favour of the venue. There is nothing , beyond the dubious kudos of being mayor, provided in return for checking in. I see some venues offering a free desert, or half price coffee etc for the mayor. Achieving mayoral status in many places means going there every day – the competition is the daily commuter stopping at a coffee shop to pick up his or her caffeine fix. It is not for the faint hearted.

As the market mature and (if) usage increases this may change but for me for now it ain’t working.

So days out with the kids are now restored to being days out with the kids. I am returning my mayoral trappings (ie bling) and reveal that the following places are up for grabs:

Lincoln Rugby Club, Lincoln Cathedral (probably the hardest one to let go – what a catch), The Bailgate Methodist Church (check-ins whilst picking up from scouts), Whisby Nature Reserve, The Morning Star, Fenella Beach, Peel Breakwater, The Grove (all 3 done whilst on holiday in the Isle of Man), The Strugglers, Newark Beacon, Timico, Super Hand Car Wash, Activities Away and The Eastgate Tennis Club.

I was on the verge of a few more mayorships after last weekend but someone else can have them too. Farewell Foursquare, farewell.

Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

9 replies on “Man flings bling in farewell to 4sq – renounces location based networking”

Ha ha! You are a welcome voice of pragmatism and good sense amongst over-enthusiastic and gushing technical bloggers. I *think* I am Mayor of St Magnus Cathedral, and it would be hard if I lost that one, I must say.

But everything else you say chimes with me (especially family members complaining as I struggle with crap GPRS phone signals to create and check in to ferry terminals, favourite stopping places on the A9, and school travel centres). I agree with your analysis that there needs to be more in it for the visitor, rather than the venue – although there are very few active 4sq users (local or tourist) in Orkney (one factor, yet again, is possibly a lack of 3G, and patchy GPRS ; did I mention that already? – can I say #digitalbritainmyarse on this blog?) so mayorships are easy to manufacture!

I have been so caught up with the St Magnus Festival ( ) over the past couple of weeks, that 4sq has receded from the focus of my interest, but I will leave it on my phone for the (perhaps) quieter winter months!

Thanks all

Sweyn I have visions of you huddled around the peat fire in a remote cottage lashed by the winter storms of the North Atlantic holding your phone up to the window in an attempt to get a signal to do your foursquare check in. As mayor you would of course have many benefits including being allowed to volunteer to walk into the town to get some more milk/bread/haggis (delete as appropriate – the whisky would be home made).

Enjoy the summer month whilst you can without the distraction of locatability 🙂

thanks James. Not sure I am bothered about having my movements displayed to anyone that wants to see though. It’s a difficult one because I’m sure most of the data is findable somewhere anyway. My view is probably that it is inevitable but this doesn’t mean we should give in without a fight.

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