I installed Foursquare on my phone when it was first available. Not many people I knew used the app, but I didn't want to mis out on what seemed a promising new trend.[ref]I deleted both my Twitter and Facebook accounts in the early days because I thought the hype of each service was bound to burn out. In hindsight, there was little cost to retaining both accounts, so I should've just kept things.[/ref] It also seemed to fill a social niche that other networks were just barely beginning to investigate.

Geolocation and crowd-sourcing local information seemed exciting, and I used the new app to check in just about everywhere I went. I added new locations to the system, was named "mayer" of my office, my church, and even the cafe I frequented in the mornings.

Then one day, a friend pointed out a scarier use of Foursquare data: would-be thieves now knew exactly when I was out of the house - and where I lived - thanks to my public check-ins.

I deleted the app out of fear, and instead watched the various social networks build their own versions of the tool. Facebook added check-ins. Twitter added geolocation to tweets. Even Google+ added a form of geolocation to its portfolio.

One day, while (ironically) hiking in Yosemite, a few friends convinced me to rejoin Foursquare. The app had evolved since my early days of use, and the gamified check-ins were a bit of a competition between me and my friends. It was fantastic!

Until Foursquare introduced Swarm.

Foursquare started as a check-in app. Then they added reviews and location/business feedback, relegating the original check-in purpose of the application to a secondary feature. Later still, they spun this feature off as a separate application entirely. It was frustrating enough that I've once again abandoned both applications.

Facebook, similarly, has done the same with its messaging feature. Once a key component of the service, and even the mobile app, Messenger has been spun off as a separate application entirely. I don't mind, except that Facebook still vibrates my phone when I receive messages but won't allow me to view or otherwise interact with them without installing a second application.

There comes a time, though, when applications and services need to focus on what they really do best, spinning off secondary features they want to retain into external apps and development teams. As an engineer, I understand the impetus for such a change. As a consumer, I find it incredibly frustrating when the paradigm of a system I use changes entirely.

Is there some sort of middle ground to be found?