I’m currently locked in an epic battle with someone I’ve never met. I don’t even know what my formidable foe looks like. I don’t know how old she is, whether she’s young or old. I’m not even sure if I know her real name.
I do know that she’s my stiffest competition for the title of “mayor” at the LA Fitness in Hollywood. And, I do know that the less she goes to the gym, the better my chances of victory are. Secretly, I kind of hope she spends 2010 eating bonbons and watching The Bachelor.
Where does all this epic battling and fierce fitness competition go down? Foursquare, of course. In case you’ve been living under a cave that doesn’t get 3G service, Foursquare is a location-based application you can “check in” with whenever you arrive at a new bar, restaurant, gym, etc. You get points for checking in to new venues, and the app will automatically tell all of your friends and followers where you’re at. You can also see if anyone else is checked in at the same places you are, and a lot more.
Whenever I try to explain Foursquare to people they always inevitably look at me like I’m nuts. Terms like stalker and privacy get thrown around. And inevitably, they always ask why — what’s the incentive to use it, why give people your whereabouts all the time?
Which brings me back to my battle for LA Fitness supremacy. You see, when you check in to a certain place a certain number of times, you get crowned the “mayor” of that venue. Which doesn’t mean much, unless you happen to be somewhere that gives better deals to its mayors (plenty of places do by the way). But that’s not how it works at LA Fitness.
Becoming the mayor of LA Fitness doesn’t get you any deals or discounts. It doesn’t suddenly imbue you with any magical powers, and you can’t start suddenly forcing them to schedule spinning around your work hours. But, it does come with glory — lots of glory. And all the bragging rights Twitter has to offer. And competing for that glory gives me one more reason to get my ass out of that computer chair and into the gym.
At the end of the day, I guess I’d say getting my ass out of the chair and out into the world is a huge factor for wanting to be on Foursquare.
Not only can I see where my friends are, and keep up with what they recommend doing, but it also helps me keep up with doing things myself. Seeing that so-and-so went to that bar, or spent the weekend doing that amazing activity (ahem, @laurelkaufman and her ice skating), inspires me to want to do those things too. And to want to just do things in general — things that take me far from the computer-covered cave of my daily digital existence. (Not that I don’t love my office — in fact, I’m the mayor there too, for the record).
So bring it on this 2010, my faceless fitness foe. I’ll be waiting for you by the treadmills — just look for the girl trying to figure out how to run and IM at the same time.