The Future of Check-Ins Is Not About Location

Joe McCann

In response to an article on Read Write Web titled Life After Death of the Check-In I felt compelled to not only comment on it, but ultimately write the following blog post.

The author of the article assumes that check-ins have all to much to do with an actual location. I disagree. The best thing that Foursquare (and BrightKite and Gowalla) did with creating the behaviour of checking into a place was getting users familiar with the concept of "checking-in". However, checking-in's value has little to do with the actual location or a place - checking in is a projection of a user's status to the outside world, a consistent curating of one's online persona.

Take GetGlue for example. GetGlue is an application that enables one to "check-in" to the TV show one is watching. 9 times out of 10 one will be in the exact same location - their couch - while checking in. However, GetGlue, one of the top rated and most heavily downloaded apps on the App Store and Google Play, has had massive success with people checking into what they are watching (over 2 million users and over 100 million check-ins).

Suffice it to say, location still plays a role in someone's checking-in (because no matter where you are, you always have a latitude/longitude coordinate pair associated with you) but it is not the essence of checking in. Check-ins 2.0 (yes I'm calling it that) will have less and less to do with actual location.

Places, things, experiences -- all of these are able to be checked-in to. And from this we will see the next wave of check-in based applications and networks.