Nobody Cares That You’re at the Gas Station

FoursquareThere’s a time and a place for a well timed and placed cross-post, but things are getting out of hand and people are starting to abuse the practice to the point of being annoying.

First, let’s start with a definition. Chris Brogan, in his June 2009 post A Simple Presence Framework, defined outposts as “places of presence that you maintain for interaction and promotion purposes.” He recommend four sites to use for outposts: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.

The popular location-based service, Foursquare, was probably missing from Chris’ list either because the site hadn’t gone mainstream yet, or he just didn’t see the site as a legitimate outpost. If the latter is the case, then I agree with him.

Much of my frustration comes from people who cross-post all of their Foursquare check-ins on Facebook, Twitter or both. Like I said, a well timed, and very occasional, cross-post is fine, but most of the time your Facebook friends and Twitter followers just don’t care that you’re at the gas station, the grocery store or the laundromat.

I’ve only seen one friend cross-post a useful Foursquare check-in. He was having dinner at a local restaurant, checked in on Foursquare and cross-posted it to Facebook. Normally, that would annoy the hell out of me, but not this time. He also included a note that he was there for Restaurant Week, and he included a link to more information.

I’ve abandoned Foursquare, so if he hadn’t cross-posted that check-in to Facebook, I might not have known about Restaurant Week, and might have missed some great deals on some great food at our local restaurants.

The other thing that’s been getting on my nerves is the people who cross-post every tweet to their Facebook profile. With all the @mentions and #hashtags that people use on Twitter, many of these posts are just out of context on Facebook.

The point here is to know your audience and the purpose of your various outposts. Don’t automatically post every Foursquare check-in to Facebook and/or Twitter. Try putting some thought into each check-in, deciding if your friends and followers will actually care where you are every minute of the day. I know I don’t.

Are you a chronic cross-poster? Do you think I’m way off base? I’d love to hear your comments either way.

Oh, and if you like what you see here, please use the Like, Share and/or Retweet buttons below to share the love.


Image by Laughing Squid


  1. Annie says

    I love this post. I can’t tell you how irritating it is to see someone cross-posting constantly on Twitter. I have a friend who constantly checks in to places, almost like she’s trying to show off how rich she is and rubbing it in everyone else’s faces that she can afford Starbucks, going out for lunch/dinner every day at expensive bars and grills or to go to baseball games, etc all the time. People who do this drive me crazy. It’s fine if it’s once in a while, but if it’s all the time keep a lid on it.

  2. says

    #SmallBizSat reinforced that check-ins should promote unique small businesses that are not promoting themselves online as they should.

  3. says

    I had cross posts between twitter and facebook hooked up for about a week. I stopped it because it actually annoyed the hell out of me… tweets and facebook status updates server two totally different audiences and I stopped posting for fear of pissing some people off because of that.

    Fortunately, it was easy to disconnect. Lesson learned: just because you can automate, doesn’t mean you should.

    • says

      I’m with you Rick. I have the default option turned off in Foursquare, and only very occasionally will I cross-post a check in to Twitter or Facebook, depending on what I hope to accomplish with the post.

    • says

      AMEN Rick! “tweets and facebook status updates server two totally different audiences”.

      I think we’ve all tried automated cross-posting at some point. Anyone who’s still doing it may as well be wearing leg warmers and spandex too!

  4. Neil S. says

    Not a foursquare user, but I agree that I usually don’t have much interest in the locations that pop up on Twitter or Facebook.  I do update my blog and then post that article link on both Facebook and Twitter through dedicated accounts on each for that purpose.  Some of this filters back to my primary personal accounts, but not all.

    • says

      I think linking to your blog posts on Twitter and Facebook is perfectly appropriate because it adds some value for your followers. Cross posting Foursquare check ins is just stupid.

  5. says

     i jokingly use 4square. i used it to prove a point to my twitter followers that i have no social life. I know i don’t, i’m not bothered by it, but most people felt i had to have some sort of social life. So the “game” began.  My life consists of work, gym, grocers, gas stations, and laundry.  A few times a month i may hit a local pub that has my poker league, but that’s only when i’m able to “step out” and live a lil. I joke with my followers, they now get it that i dont do much and sometimes i just cant do all of that stuff. (bars, movie theaters, malls, museums, you name it) but it’s all good.

    I think 4square just gives me analytics of HOW MUCH MONEY I SPEND. 😉

    -RAP, II

  6. says

    I also hate seeing useless check-ins! I don’t use Foursquare but I think the “be the governor of ” perpetuates the problem. I understand the feature from a business perspective but does anyone really care that you are the governor of Starbucks besides you and the person below you?

  7. says

    Oh boy, did this get me excited. I can’t tell you how much it bothers me when users check in, and DON’T leave unique content. I am almost to the point that I expect a picture with every check in. Regardless, checking in and adding content go hand-in-hand. What’s the point of even checking in if you’re not going to add content?

    On top of that, if you ARE going to link your check-ins to your social networks, who in the world wants to see WHERE you go? Now, hold on… because I do… but, I only care that you are at Target if you tell me WHY you are at Target. See the difference. (Of course you do, you are the one that wrote this blog post!

    I am a big advocate of doing social right. Sorry to be the one to say it, but there is a right way and a wrong way to use social media. This is one of those instances. If you are going to check in, add content. And I don’t want to hear, “I didn’t have time to add content.” Well, if you had time to take out your phone, load the application, search for the venue, and check in… you had time to add a single line of text.

    So thank you for sharing this. I will use this as fuel for my fire in a blog I am writing right now… it’s called You’re Doing it Wrong. If you check in, and don’t add unique content, and link it to your social networks… you’re doing it wrong.

    Thanks for sharing sir, and thanks for getting me all fired up!

    • says

      Glad I could get you all charged up, Ricky! You and I think a lot alike on this topic, so I’m looking forward to “You’re Doing it Wrong.”

  8. says

    Please remove this post. I would like to change my response. This was NOT meant to be posted from IMAVEX. Thank you!

    • says

      Glad you liked it. I’m not opposed to location-based apps at all. I use Foursquare on occasion, but I keep my check-ins in Foursquare.

  9. Tom Buchheim says

    I’ve hidden all cross-posting apps on Facebook for those who choose to mass-broadcast their whereabouts. And I’m with @Eric – the only time I share Foursquare check-ins is if it’s an interesting place, event or person I’m with.

    • says

      Oooh. Great idea hiding the apps on Facebook. Wish I could do the same on Twitter. Instead, I just unfollow people who auto-tweet their Foursquare shit.

  10. says

    Hi Collin, ah yes, a fellow “cross-post hater” 😉
    I think your point about relevant audiences sums it up really – the “language” of each platform differs, and doesn’t often translate well. And no people, we do NOT care (on Twitter, FB, or any other network!!) that you’re having coffee!!

    A well-known speaker who I was following on Twitter was sending out tweets literally every 2 minutes: “in Berlin airport”; “driving to hotel in Berlin”; “at hotel in Berlin” and so on – verbal diarrhoea! I unfollowed him :-

    With many platforms, you can automatically post to several networks in the appropriate format for the particular network – worth people reading up a bit more on that :)

    thanks !

    • says

      We cross-post haters need to stick together! Next, there will be an app where people can tell the world what they are wearing. I won’t use it.

  11. says

    I’ve retwitted, facebooked, email shared, sent out carrier pigeons and smoke signals, and I’m learning semaphore and Morse code to get the word out.

  12. says

    Nice post, Collin. The only cross-posting I ever do is ever-so-rarely from Foursquare to Twitter when I’m at some place I think is really great, weird, different or for a special occasion. I never cross-pollenate anything from any platform to FB. For me it’s a matter of how often it’s acceptable to post to each (and this is purely a personal feeling). More than a few posts a day on FB is too much, but the nature of Twitter allows for more frequent posting as it truly is a river of news that I step into every so often. 2 cents.

    • says

      I don’t mind the occasional cross-post when it makes sense. It’s the people who cross post EVERYTHING that drive me batty.

  13. says

    I think more people should use the selective sharing feature when they Tweet. I only cross-post Tweets to Facebook or LinkedIn if I know the information will be valuable to my connections on those networks.

  14. says

    I am a believer in building your community around you meaning that be authentic and the people that like you will stick around while the others will leave. At the same time some common sense is required as to what you share, where and when.

    Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should.

    • says

      Well said… just because my car goes 150 miles an hour doesn’t mean I can drive it that fast. I am going to use that line in my presentations in the near and distant future. I will reference this blog post!

  15. says

    Wow…Loved that. I have to say when I first started tweeting I made that fatal mistake and had it posting of FB…it got on my nerves! As for Foursquare..I have to say I like it because it allows me to stay in touch with a few friends across the miles and I only check in when it’s a place of interest but no don’t want it to post on the others sites too…I agree with that. If I want to know or watch a person…I can follow them on Foursquare and that is more than enough…

  16. Anonymous says

    I can’t check-in to FourSquare 90 percent of the time. That’s how it is in Europe. But when it was down to 50-50, I had some fun. I checked in some cool places off the mainstream map. Ok, I never checked in at a gas station, grocery store, or McDonalds.

    But I do cross-post my check-ins to Twitter and Facebook. Because it’s all about sharing. Of course, I don’t think we should “share” it all. That’s more like littering. Or, worse, polluting the tank.

    Is there significant social potential in cross-posting? I’d like to think so. But I don’t think that cross-posting can adequately satisfy the various expectations of the different audiences associated with different networks and communities.

  17. says

    Unless someone has great service, terrible service, or a really good photo, I don’t really want to know about locations. Using foursquare? Keep your checkins on Foursquare and share them with foursquare users (only).

    • says

      And that goes for users on Facebook and Twitter too. Messages are site specific. A Tweet doesn’t belong on Facebook. Or LinkedIn. The language is different. I hate it that people think it’s okay for him or her to post the same message on several services. It’s NOT okay! Great comment Troy.

      • says

        Ricky – I’m so bummed that you got around to replying to all these comments before I did! You’re GOOD, man! Thanks for engaging with both me and my readers. I appreciate the community we’re building here.

  18. says

    I have to agree with you on this one. I’ve unfollowed and hidden feeds on people who seem to be FourSquare boneheads.

    I do cross-post my blog, but that’s a little different. I don’t feed my Twitter to Facebook or vice versa. If I share something I think is noteworthy, I’ll share it both places…but that’s seldom.

    I don’t want to be the one at the virtual cocktail party that everyone avoids like the plague because they’re trying to sign folks up for their latest MLM idea. For me, that’s what all these nonsense cross posts feel like. That, or that annoying kid at a wedding reception that irritates all the guests with the “Ooo! Oooo! Look at me. Look what I can do!” (hopping back and forth in front of you so you can’t move until you watch him spin on one foot) while you’re looking around thinking “Where are this kids’ parents and why aren’t they keeping him out from under my feet?”

    Before hitting that send button, you gotta ask yourself…”Who the heck cares?”

    • says

      “Foursquare boneheads.” I WILL use that at some time in the future, because it says it all! I also agree that cross posting your blog is completely different. That’s promotion. Telling everyone where you are on Foursquare is a person’s prerogative, but I wish they’d keep the mundane crap on Foursquare where it belongs.

  19. says

    I’m with you on this. In particular, people who *only* tweet when they change locations are usually unfollowed swiftly. As always, content and context are key. If you’ve checked into a BBQ joint that just served you a plate of brisket that borders on trancendentally good, then by all means, tweet away. If you’re getting crappy coffee at the gas station, keep a lid on it :)

  20. says

    You’re onto something. I believe people are sharing way too much irrelevant information on the Internet. Brains should come with in-built spam filters.

    • says

      Thanks, and I love that quote, “Brains should come with in-built spam filters.” I may borrow that one sometime.

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