Hilarious Discovery: Foursquare’s Douchebag Badge
If you’re reading this now, you fall into one of three categories. The first: Foursquare addict. You “check in” at various locations several times a day, become Mayor of this place and that place, and unlock all kinds of badges. Sidenote: this piece is probably going to make you mad. The second: You don’t have a clue what Foursquare is and couldn’t care less, but are reading this because the word “douchebag” is in the title and you’d like to find out why. The third – and I fall into this category: You know what Foursquare is. You might’ve even created an account when it was first getting hot. Then you realized what it was.
I don’t like it. There, I said it.
If you haven’t yet, scoot on over to TechCrunch and read MG Seigler’s article, “Does Foursquare Have a Douchebag Problem?” Seigler explains how, after checking in at a bar that had been tagged as trendy, he unlocked the douchebag badge and autotweeted this prestigious honor out to his followers. The badge is a little pink shirt with the collar popped. Cute.
Background: Foursquare is just one in a series of new geo-location games that allow you to tell your friends where you are at any given time using GPS technology on your mobile device. Sounds stupid right? It is. But it’s getting popular nonetheless. Dubbed “the next Twitter” by Mashable’s Pete Cashmore, Foursquare is winning the hearts of tech royalty who are in turn trying to convince us that we should be checking in everywhere we go.
There’s no doubt that Foursquare has an insane amount of business applications, should it really catch on in the mainstream. I understand why marketing pros are elated. Many social-minded companies are already embracing it as a way to track customers and their habits. Tasti D Lite, for instance, lets you connect your Treat Card to your Twitter account so that any time you buy some Tasti D, it auto-tweets from your account that some points were added to your card. And who wouldn’t want the whole world to know they just bought an extra large cone and earned 50 points in one purchase? Hey, free medium next time! The thing is, how exciting are these Foursquare applications if no one but the tech set is using it?
Earlier, I referred to the Mayor badge, or the badge that you get when you’ve checked into a place a certain number of times. Local businesses really benefit from the competitiveness that Foursquare incites in its customers. Popular Foursquare targets get several check-in’s a day, bringing die-hards back again and again to check in. The more you check in, the more likely it is that you will exile the current mayor and take power.
Douchebag badge is unlocked by checking in to trendy/popular stores and restaurants, which is why I find its newly-announced partnership with Bravo so bizarre. If Foursquare wants to leverage Bravo’s loyal audience, they’d better take a hard look at what these snarky and offensive badge titles mean to this market. Calling a user a douchebag for checking in at Barney’s isn’t going to go very far with Bravo’s fashion-forward audience. Sounds like I’d unlock the douchebag badge before half a day had gone by.
I’ve done my research. I’ve personally used it…and deleted it. Until someone can explain to me why Foursquare is useful (aside from the obvious ease with which people could potentially stalk me), I’ll steer clear. Feel free to disagree with me.