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Swarm is the New Coke of Apps, Just Bring Back Classic Foursquare

Swarm Mayorships

Once upon a time, Coca-Cola reformulated their soft drink. They called it New Coke and it was going to be amazing. It was a flop. It was such a flop that they brought back the original as Classic Coca-Cola and sold both before finally ditching New Coke altogether. Swarm is the New Coke of apps. I just hope they follow Coca-Cola’s lead and kick it to the curb in favor of bringing back classic Foursquare.

The first time I used Foursquare was at SXSW and I checked in at the Foursquare court. They had actual foursquare that you could play and I got a cool badge. I also got a badge for my first SXSW check-in and another one for my first Austin, Texas check-in, all at the same time. It was cool. I then proceeded to check-in everywhere and dragged everyone I knew into my Foursquare addiction. Life was good and then came Swarm.

I hated Swarm from the minute it launched. I don’t want to check-in on Swarm and then go to Foursquare to find out about nearby places to eat. I don’t want goofy stickers. I want my badges, many of which are gone with the change. I also don’t want or need to organize meet-ups with my friends through Swarm. That’s why text messaging was invented.


Still, I use Swarm mostly because my kids think it’s neat and we have fun checking in together. My youngest just got her first smartphone so she’s beside herself with excitement that now she can check all of us in and start earning stickers. She never knew the wonder of all those badges so she doesn’t know what she’s lost.

I used Foursquare in the old days and I do know what I’ve lost. I’ve lost badges and mayorships and fun. I miss classic Foursquare. Seems like the folks at Foursquare understand their mistake at least a little. They’ve just announced that they’re bringing traditional mayorships to Swarm in an attempt to reinvigorate the app.

Instead of just competing against your friends, which was lame, you now compete against everyone. Whoever has the most check-ins in 30 days is mayor and they’re even grandfathering in your recent check-ins. You may be a mayor right now and not even know it until you look at the app.

This is a great step back in the right direction, but the thing that made Foursquare fun was the gamification. That’s still missing with Swarm. They broke something when they split Foursquare in two and the only fix is bringing back the classic. It worked for Coke. It can work for Foursquare.


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