Swarm-ing OCD

Check-ins, mayor, coins: gamification. I have been a big user of Foursquare since the app hit the ‘screen’ in March of 2009. I used it through some times when it really was not great, and when the split and formed Swarm, I continued to use it. Why? Well, I guess I have a streak of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), and at my very core, I am super competitive.


When the app first launched, I was attracted to the social aspects of sharing my location. I wanted to know if any of my friends were nearby, and share my thoughts on places where I was visiting. Over time, as they introduced the concept of ‘mayor’, it became a game. I would compete vigorously to be the major of places I frequented. Sometimes I would go out of my way to stop at a favorite spot, and earn or maintain a mayorship.

Then they introduced coins, and rankings. This became another place to compete with friends. I would play the game, and knew every possible way to get a few more coins and increase my weekly score. I was obsessed with the dang thing. My personality and this ‘game’ are a dangerous combination.

Recently I asked myself why .. what value is this adding to my life? Why am I feeling the need to compete so intensely? Does it really matter?

I have not cured my OCD. It comes out in so many ways .. I can’t do anything half baked. It has served me well, but it has also caused some issues. In this case, and for my own sake, I am not using swarm any longer. I may use it to check in on some of our more interesting photo hikes, but for a few weeks, I am just not using it.

Wish me luck .. it drove me nuts for a couple days, but I am recovering:).

~ Rick

lifeRick CartwrightLife, ocd