Nostalgia in advance

Foursquare introduced its social check-in game in the time of the Great Recession. It was around that same time that Apple had introduced the iPhone, and Foursquare was an application purposefully created for mobility. You went somewhere, checked in, and became “mayor” if your check-ins there were more frequent than those of others. Mayors, allegedly, would be rewarded by the particular establishment, although that really depended on the place.

In many ways, the launch of Foursquare was a milestone, in social networking, in online-offline interaction, in targeted advertising and promotions, in mobile data. Even if not the first in all these things, it symbolized the advent, at least with hindsight. At the time, for some, it also was a way to catalog one’s travels… almost like a journal, in a sense, in real time to accentuate the event, and looking back to see the patterns.

I also thought, back then, and biased by a lifetime in a city that keeps changing, that Foursquare check-ins would serve a nostalgic purpose. I think I might have been the mayor of Second Hand Rose (without reward, and on account of no competition), a record store on Broadway and 12th, across diagonally from the Strand. The record store closed long before the epidemic, the Strand will hopefully survive.

But that was an eternity ago. Foursquare is different now, and getting differenter…


… as is mobility and its data, and social networking and interaction, and targeted promotions, and locations… and the iPhone… all getting differenter also.

9 to 5 Mac

This decade later, more or less, we have reason to suspect that we will be nostalgic about many things, perhaps not even one year forward. While the market keeps going, keeps going…