Call me crazy, but I like Swarm. Many users expressed outrage when Foursquare first split their app into two (Foursquare + Swarm). I happened to have deleted my account just before they introduced the changes. I met a guy who thought these kinda apps infringe on your privacy. I wanted to be more compatible with him and after listening to his concerns I kinda became scared. However, I also felt like I spent too much time on it, along with other apps, so I was trying to cut that down as well by deleting my account. Later, I missed using it, so in Nov 2014 I downloaded it again in the form of Swarm.
They had taken away some of the features I loved like mayorships and badges, basically some of the key gamification features. They replaced it with not-as-exciting stickers that you could add to your check-ins. I don’t mind them though, they’re just not as elusive as the former badges and more like Swarm’s own custom emojis. You can also add an emoji to a check-in too and it shows up like one of the stickers. You couldn’t use emojis in the old Foursquare, so that’s cool they came on board with that.
Less of my friends are on the app compared to before though. So, basically, I check-in places for myself. “Hang on”, you might say, “I thought you liked the app!” Well, I do! I get a little high checking-in. It’s the check-in feature I love. Which might explain why I missed the app. Apparently the reward centre of the brain gives a surge of dopamine when interacting with an app (see this video). So, even though some of the features I liked were taken away, I’m still addicted to it! Maybe because my brain remembers how I used to feel when I used the old Foursquare.
Today, Swarm just got an update (2.0). I have to say it contains some major improvements! The check-in button is now accessible on every page from a tabbed bar. That really makes my experience so much better. There was nothing more annoying than having to navigate to the ‘nearby’ page every time I wanted to check-in and then tap the top right corner. I kept getting confused with the notification symbol too – thinking I could tap that to check-in. The new navigation makes checking-in and navigating to the right page a lot easier! The developers have also removed the ‘Plans’ page. That’s good because I never used it! Instead, you can send friends direct messages! I don’t plan on using that either though, since not enough people I know are on the app. Meanwhile, I will keep using the app for myself to check-in and keep a track of all the places I go. And just because it makes me feel good!
I’m still hoping Swarm will bring out a feature to edit our check-ins if we’ve made a mistake! At the moment you have to laboriously delete the check-in and check-in again. If you have left the place, it’s too late! Most apps allow you to edit your content including Facebook, Instagram, Ello, Happier and even Skype! Anyway, I may be one of the only people left still using Swarm but the fact they brought out an update today gives me hope that they’ll continue to support the app and won’t just let it die or fade into obscurity. There’s always a risk when you change things that you’ll never recover again. But I like the latest improvements and I will keep using it for now.