I recently used two social media platforms that I consider less popular than they once were: Twitter and FourSquare. Twitter’s search function made it easy for me to connect with people that have similar interests, and taught me that sometimes platforms are more fun for “internet friends” than real ones. I would have been open to learning from my real friends or seeing tips from other users on FourSquare, but because of the complicated interface, it was difficult to do both.
Twitter: Easy to Find Relevant Content and Connect Over Similar Interests
Self-Expression + Low Expectations
I started using Twitter (after a long hiatus) to save interesting articles in one place. As far as I knew, none of my friends were still using the platform, so I was able to post just for myself, without trying to craft something that would gain feedback in the form of favorites and re-tweets. (When my little cousin re-tweeted one of my tweets, it was a pleasant surprise and completely made my day.)
Because I was sharing content that was genuinely interesting to me, people with similar interests started to find and follow me. When I looked at their profiles, I was intrigued by their tweets, and followed them back. It was strangely exhilarating to connect with strangers online, and reinforced the idea that some social platforms can be more effective for connecting with online friends, than reinforcing connections with real-life ones.
FourSquare: Confusing to Use, Difficult to Connect
Inconsistent Check-In Recording
On a recent trip to San Diego, I used FourSquare, in hopes of recording new experiences for future reference. Check-Ins did not always save, and finding the page with saved check-ins was exceptionally difficult, meaning I did not discover the glitch until my trip had ended.
Difficult to Find Friends’ Content
I had heard about friends learning about cool new places through each other’s FourSquare check-ins, however I had to actively search for a “feed,” and when I found it, it included tips, but no check-ins. Tellingly, the last tip left by one of my friends was in August, 2014.