Calming Down the Swarm

It’s time to stop.

Location-based social media

What am I stopping?

I am (mostly) ending my relationship with Swarm (formerly Foursquare).

I have been checking in on Foursquare for nine years. NINE YEARS. That comes up to:

Location-based social media

My decision to (mostly) quit was pretty anticlimactic. I got a new phone in mid-December, and had to re-enter passwords for all my apps. I was having trouble (probably user error) logging back into Swarm. One thing led to another and a month went by.

Here’s what I love(d) about Swarm:

I made friends. Improbable as it may sound, I connected with people on Swarm and deepened local connections with Tallahasseeans (and others) I see rarely but still am interested in keeping up with.

Being able to support businesses and causes I loved. I have been the person to put several businesses on the Swarm system as they opened. Checking in to favorite businesses made me feel like I was giving them a bit of social media juice.

Being mayor. I know — I know — it’s so silly. But being “mayor” of places is fun – it was really enjoyable back when it resulted in perks at the businesses of which we were mayor.

The Optimism Light. The Optimism Light is a gift I gave myself a few years ago. I love this little creation of mine that adds a tiny bit of positivity to almost every day (since I cross that intersection so frequently (at least I did while I was still working outside the home)). But it’s still there. I may check in from time to time.

Here’s what I love (less) about Swarm in 2017:

Time. It only takes seconds to “check in,” but honestly. every second counts.

Risk. Specific to the Optimism Light, even IF I am at a full stop, I don’t need to be fiddling with my phone. It sets a bad example. Sigh.

Data. I’ve always been a little skittish about the amount of data I’m sharing with …. who? Whoever is at the controls at Swarm. It’s not like my phone and the location tracker can’t tell pretty much anyone who wants to know where I am, but I am growing increasingly leery of telling the world, “HEY! I’m HOME! (or wherever).”

Facebook – Less yet More. Maybe I’m just doing something wrong, but now when I check in on Swarm and share on Facebook, the image on Facebook is generic. That’s no fun. (It’s a map, which I guess is good, but it used to be an image related to the topic.) On the flip side, choosing to be on Swarm less means I’ll be checking in more often on Facebook, and I am not thrilled about becoming more reliant on Facebook. Swarm seemed to be a bit segregated from Facebook (frankly, I kept thinking Swarm would be purchased by Facebook. Almost everything else has been!).

Endings

I guess this all falls in the category of one of those habits where you do it, repeatedly (19,036 times in my case), then stop and think one day and come to the realization that the habit is no longer serving you.

I’m surprised at myself giving it up this easily. Usually I would try to do something strategic like “get to 20,000 check-ins and then dedicate the 20,000th to some significant event (sort of like my 100,000th tweet)”, but it’s just not a big enough deal for me to engineer all that.

Still, I encourage you to embrace its premise:

Location-based social media

(I’m keeping the Optimism Light’s social media accounts open, so please don’t hesitate to visit on Twitter and Facebook.)

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.