NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- When Facebook (FB - Get Report) went public in May 2012, I wrote A Future IPO More Exciting Than Facebook about Twitter. Now, with Twitter's public offering sure to produce some form of explosive headlines, I'm still looking ahead.
Lots of tech types -- as well as some perfectly normal people -- like to diss Foursquare as a waste of time. They argue that all it does is satisfy the narcissistic fetish of telling your friends where you are every minute of the day. If you're "checking in" at a five-star restaurant or doing something else widely perceived as cool or of the affluent, all the better.
While I would agree that an app such as Klout -- easily the biggest waste of venture capital since Webvan -- fits this self-indulging bill, I don't with respect to Foursquare. In fact, I argue that Foursquare is every bit as good as Yelp (YELP - Get Report) and could, in its own way, end up just as useful, fun and engaging as Facebook or Twitter.
Foursquare is fun. And it has gotten much better, and more useful, over the last six months or so.There's too much focus on devices and apps that change lives or completely disrupt the way we do things. Not every app we put on a smartphone should have to serve missions as lofty (and, quite often, hollow) as giving people the power to share and make the world more open and connected or providing everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly without barriers. Talk about narcissistic and self-indulging! Whatever happened to fun coupled with down-home, on-the-ground usefulness? I mean sometimes I just want to listen to The Bangles? I don't require the deep meaning I find in Bruce Springsteen and Elliott Smith. Somewhere along the way, Foursquare made the mistake of allowing itself to get typecast as "that app you use to check-in at places." While it was cool to "check in" a year or two ago, the luster faded fast. Those of us who still use Foursquare to check in are quite likely to rank high on narcissism scales or maybe we just like to compete with our friends for points.