For those of you who don’t already know, today April 16 (4/4^2) is 4sqDay!
I’ve been an avid user of Foursquare since I got my first smartphone. Unlike many others who use this location sharing app for its most obvious purpose – to share the places they visit with their friends – I’d actually gotten hooked on Foursquare because of its ‘gamey’ appeal. To be honest, prior to discovering Foursquare, I had always scoffed at the pointlessness of ‘checking in’ to places – Why would we ever need to broadcast to everyone the places we go?
Foursquare changed my opinion about ‘checking in’. Checking in didn’t seem so pointless any more, when there are a plethora of cute & interesting badges to earn, place mayorships to obtain, and a leaderboard point system to promote some friendly competition with my friends! Suddenly, the simple (& initially rather boring and pointless) act of checking in has become a rather engaging game!
My profile on Foursquare
In recent updates of the app though, Foursquare wound up playing down the more ‘gamey’ aspects of the service. This article from Gamification Corp. provides a rather interesting insight into Foursquare’s “lost opportunities”. I recall having remarked to my friends about how Foursquare was becoming less focused on the game-like aspect of things & looking more & more like Facebook (with the ‘timeline’-like feed) & other boring services. Foursquare lost its appeal to me, and I stopped checking in for awhile.
However, my initial good experience with using Foursquare led me to continuously be on the lookout for other ‘gamey’ type apps – and I realized how gamifying an experience can actually make mundane or even pointless things fun to do!
Now into the third week of this 6-week course, I am truly learning lots about the behind-the-scenes building blocks of gamification & its applications to business as well as daily life!
In fact, a lot of the things we are doing from day to day probably already apply gamification in some form! Think about things like setting fitness goals & rewarding yourself for a month of going to the gym ‘x’ number of times – that’s gamification in action! You’re making going to the gym into something that resembles a game.
In conclusion, gamifying your life is probably one of the most amazing & inspiring things you could do to motivate yourself. So on this 4sqDay, let me just say: Gamify your Life! Give it a shot – the results will greatly surprise you!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on gamification, so please feel free to drop me a comment to share!
(I’m still holding on to the hope that Foursquare might someday revive focus on the game elements that made it so fun to use back in the day! :P)