Confessions of a Gowalla “hacker”
As you know, it all started because of that “pleaserobme” page. I Dashed around 4square to prove a point, and then did the same excersize in Gowalla (which I play), to not play favorites with either service. Both have the same bug, and you might blame it on Android phones, or whatever phone is the reason the m.-versions of their pages exist. (Clue alert: that is the biggest and only clue I will give on how I did this. It’s already mentioned numerous times around the getsatifaction gowalla topics, so it’s not an unknown glitch, but I won’t spell it out further.)
On a dare my gowallaing pal I normally swap rare items with, said “Found the oval office!”, and I did, which will likely get the attention of Gowalla, or at least other users who will be miffed that someone founded a spot where they were not. I get that and if the spot is erased, well, that would just make sense. It’s likely that I’ll be banned as a Gowalla user as well.
I knew it would get out of hand when I started. When I first looked at what trips could be done in Gowalla, and what pins you earn, I saw these… And the Hacker pin which instantly became the only pin I ever wanted. That hacker pin has been an itch needing to be scratched ever since. Looking at the featured trips that one gets pins for completing, I saw “Honky tonk crawl” in Nashville and similar US-centric trips. These are great suggestions of course, and I’d be thrilled to do a Frank Lloyd Wright tour one of these days, but I couldn’t understand why one didn’t see featured trips based on ones geographical location, like: “Hey I’m in Amsterdam now, is there a museum crawl I should do?”, and why would a bunch of pins that people collect only be reserved for those who are on the North American continent?
I’ve spoken about Gowallas possibilities with many friends, how one should be able to create (or rather buy as income for gowalla) special icons given when you check in at places. My friend suggests that cafe’s should be able to drop discount-pins in your pack when you check in there, which you could trade for real food. How I would love to grant little rainbow-colored TV-sets to anyone who checks in more than 5 times in any given ad or digital agency around the world, for example. The possibilities are endless. Perhaps the Turning torso here in Malmö would become a featured spot one of these days, so us stuck in Öresund have a chance in getting one of those “featured” stamps, apart from at the central station.
I shrugged the suggested trips off as “Impossible pins”, and I made statues, as soon as I saw one. I have a thing for statues and famous buildings and tried creating spots with as much information as possible about the ones that I have visited. Some became popular.
I figured that soon we would be able to make trips, and sure enough as soon as that feature rolled out, I made a statue trip in Malmö (that I even I haven’t completed yet).
Of course, this trip only shows up to my friends, making it fairly useless as the tourist-reccomendation I meant it to be.
But that “hacker pin” itch was never satisfied. How does one get this? You check in at 25 tech startups for the hacker pin, that’s the only information you’ll get in getsatifactions forums. It’s possible to do this in San Francisco alone. What startups count toward the pin isn’t listed anywhere, so if I were to fly to San Fran for a week, I could not dash out to complete this quest while there because there is no list to follow.
So while I was flying around the world like Dakini, reshuffling items for fun (removing all the boring luggage tags and candy bars from the white house and throwing a slew of exotic formerly Swedish rare items in their place, then dropping “White House” marked candies all over the states… for example.), I figured I should get the hacker pin. The only pin I really cared about. Now I’ve been around San Fran, Palo Alto and Mountain view way too many times, and have not reached hacker status, though I have checked in to more than 50 startups, both the ones with special badges and the ones without. Now I’m bored, and will stop. My point about the Pleaserobme site is made, and I hope I’ve made a point about the silly of having special pins given for US-only type trips when you offer a worldwide toy.
p.s. I will admit faking being in the same café as @morpac was effing hilarious, I laughed for a good 20 minutes.