The Check-In Quandary
My 80-year-old grandpa has a Facebook account. He uses it to keep in touch with family out of state, and it helps him stay in the know with what we’re all up to here in Tampa. But one thing he never, ever does is check in. And he doesn’t understand the point of a “check-in,” either. He’s not the only one. There seem to be a whole slew of people who just don’t seem to “get” mobile check-ins or location-based apps. Here’s your guide to the who, what, where and why of mobile check-ins and location-based apps:
Who’s Checking In?
I don’t think the older generations are doing a lot of checking in (my grandpa would probably say he’s just waiting to “check out”). The numbers don’t disagree. According to a study conducted by research firm Forrester in 2010, 0 percent of seniors (age 65+) use location-based applications. The study also found that:
- 44% of Generation Y (age 18 to 29) uses location-based apps
- 42% of Generation X (age 30 to 43) uses them
- 9% of younger Boomers (age 44 to 53) uses them
- 5% of older Boomers (age 54 to 64) uses them
What Is a Check-In?
Sorry, skipped that part! If you aren’t familiar with this whole check-in process, let me break it down for you. You have an app on your mobile phone, like Foursquare or Facebook. You go places, and naturally your phone goes with you. Open up these apps and they tap into your phone’s GPS, pinpointing your exact location. Other users can see where you “check in,” throughout any given day, week, etc.
Where Are They Checking In?
Why, anywhere, of course! No, really. You can check in at a physical place, like Disney World, or an event, like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Some location-based apps even let you name your own place, be it real or fictional.
Why Are They Checking In?
There are various reasons why people used location-based apps to check in. After scouring the web, I found the top five reasons seem to be:
- For the thrill of the game
- A virtual travel diary
- Sharing their experience/reviews
- Snagging deals!
Just for fun, I polled the office here at Ballywho, to see what my officemates think about checking in. Here are their fabulous responses:
- Lucia (self-proclaimed dinosaur) says she has never (gasp!) actively checked in somewhere. Her lunch spots just really aren’t that interesting.
- Ashley, our Ballywho social media geek, says she’s the mayor of several places. She thinks checking in is fun and hopes to someday get a sweet deal. The best one she’s gotten was a free daiquiri at the Daiquiri Deck.
- Nitsa has ONLY checked in 577 times. She used to do it for the mayorships, but now she likes the explore feature on Foursquare so she can check out places nearby and see what her friends have said about them. The best deal she ever scored? Free beignets at NOLA/Second Line Café. Beignets are a delicious balls of yumminess often referred to as a “French doughnuts” but without the hole.
- Caroline checks in anywhere she can. She says it’s fun to fight for mayorships (and recently took Nitsa’s spot as the mayor here at Ballywho), but sometimes she isn’t really sure why she checks in. Her best deal? A free appetizer at a bar!