Posted:  June 30th, 2011 by:  Laura comments:  2
I want to admit this, right up front. This is more of a rant than my usual, more considered posts.
I want you to stop checking into your own library on Foursquare. Or Gowalla. Or Facebook Places or Google Latitude or whatever location-based app you’ve got. Just stop it. You’re missing the point of these things.
I know, I know, being mayor of your workplace is really cool, and you need at least 10 mayorships to get the Super Mayor badge in Foursquare. Your workplace (i.e., the library where you work) is a really easy score. After all, you’re there almost every day, right?
But, here’s the problem…
Why should I stop checking in to my own library, Laura?
Location apps are also meant to help encourage customer loyalty. I’m mostly a Foursquare user, so I’ll use that as my example. When I pull up a location on Foursquare, I can see if that location or nearby venues offer specials. Nearly all of those specials are along the lines of “On your nth numbered checkin to our place, you can get a free thingy.” In other words, “You come here more than once, you get something nice because you’re loyal to us.” Now, your checking in to your own library doesn’t prevent someone else from getting a special, and your library may not even offer location app specials anyway. But this point has bearing on the next points, so hang in there with me, ok?
Being the mayor of your own library means someone else CAN’T be. It’s like Highlander: “There can be only ONE.” If you’re the mayor of your workplace, this means that no one else can be, until they somehow check in more times that you do. If you work there daily, how can someone else (not an employee) steal the mayorship?
Ideally, you want people to come to your library, and competing for they mayorship or a badge or whatever is another reason to do that. Libraries thrive on loyal customers, just as any other business or institution does. By holding down the mayorship without any real possibility of outside challenge, it could be discouraging patrons from checking in. If I see that a venue I check into has a mayor and that I’m “only” 153 days away from the mayorship (meaning, the mayor has checked in here that many times), I may not bother to check in the next time. That’s fewer checkins for the venue and a potential feeling of disgruntlement for me.
You want someone in your community to be the mayor. Its one small way to build customer loyalty.