A story of 6,300 Foursquare check-ins

I’ve checked in 6,300 or so times on Foursquare. The check-ins are all over the world but the epicentre is London. So what can I infer from my check-ins?

So far, there aren’t any great tools to help you quickly untangle the web of your Foursquare history. I was among the early adopters of Foursquare (user number 56***) but I’ve no idea where I rank in terms of check-in volumes. So I don’t know whether my history is unusually complicated or not.

However, it is interesting. Pleasing, in fact. When I stroll/scroll back through my check-in history over the past five years, it triggers lots of memories, which I like. And there are at least a few tools you can use to interrogate your history. Where Do You Go (formerly Wee Maps, I think) is one of them. Here’s my map of London check-ins over five years:

Where’s Pete?

From this map, if you knew me better, you’d be able to tell:

  1. The four places in London I’ve lived since I signed up for Foursquare
  2. The four places my offices have been located in that time
  3. Even the locations of some key clients I’ve worked with (there was a big one in Victoria and another on the Southbank, for example)

The remainder of the glowing areas broadly represent my eating, drinking, cultural and shopping habits in Central London, with some transport interchanges thrown in for good measure.

If you’ve never used Foursquare, you’re missing out on the best recommendations tool for places to eat, drink, find and shop that exists in locations like London, New York, Paris, Berlin and San Francisco. And I’m not paid by Foursquare to say this. It’s all about the way Foursquare prioritises nearby options based on your tastes and those who have been to and enjoyed similar places to you.

Even in small towns and villages, Foursquare check-ins are evident and the tips can be extremely useful. What should you order from the menu in a small town restaurant in Slovakia? Foursquare as often as not has a gem or two available as soon as you check in (which these days is done via Swarm).

The salmon is good

But the dimension revealed by Where Do You Go — a personal location-based history — is another thing altogether. I can’t wait to look back at this when I’m 70.

Here’s my London check-in heat map without the detail. Even this is, I suspect, interesting. What does it tell you about me?

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