Chicago checks in for Foursquare city ‘badge’
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org September 16, 2011 1:50PM
Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined by foursquare co-founder Naveen Selvadurai at Heartland Cafe, 7000 N. Glenwood Ave., where Mayor announced that Chicago is the world's first city with its own foursquare City badge, the "Windy City" City badge, in advance of Social Media Week, Friday, September 16, 2011. | John H. White~Chicago Sun-Times.
Updated: November 10, 2011 11:32AM
Chicago will become the first major city with its own Foursquare city “badge” — earned after “checking in” at five of 20 designated neighborhood attractions — under a tech-savvy plan unveiled Friday to coincide with Social Media Week.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel billed the so-called “Windy City badge” as a way to promote small businesses, keep tabs on the social scene and give people a “greater sense of intimacy” that’s sorely lacking in today’s over-worked, multi-tasking world.
“We today as individuals who are very wired don’t have a level of intimacy,” the mayor told college students from across the Midwest at the Heartland Cafe, 7000 N. Glenwood.
“This is an attempt to give us that intimacy and relationship and community building we can’t get any other way as we all get siloed off in our own individual worlds.”
Emanuel, who has his own social media director, will be “checking in” on Foursquare as he hop-scotches across the city.
But in a rare moment of candor, the 51-year-old mayor acknowledged that he was venturing into uncharted waters.
“I want to be honest. Don’t take it as brutally honest, but I said to my staff on the way, ‘What is it I’m doing? What is this Foursquare? ... How do you turn the thing on? What is this?’” Emanuel said.
Foursquare is a location-based mobile platform that boasts of helping ten million worldwide users navigate cities while connecting 500,000 merchants with customers.
Over three million times-a-day, users “check in” via text message and smart phone app to share their location with friends while collecting points and virtual “badges.”
Users can recommend items on the menu of their favorite restaurants or venues their friends should visit.
Foursquare also allows participating merchants to engage their customers, keep tabs of how often their patrons come in and reward frequent fliers with discounts.
“I’m incredibly excited that the mayor is now gonna be on Foursquare. He’s gonna be checking in all around town, everywhere he goes, new places he goes to explore and he’s gonna be leaving tips for everybody to find. This way, you get a sense of what he likes about the city, what he feels passionate about,” said Foursquare co-founder Naveen Selvadurai.
“We came to Chicago because it’s probably one of the most popular cities in Foursquare. There are many hundreds of thousands of people checking in all over. It’s a very tech-savvy city. You guys really understand how to use Foursquare and what you use it for. And one thing we’re really proud of is that Foursquare brings attention to local businesses.”
The 20 designated sites include: Oriental Institute Museum in Hyde Park; Garfield Park Conservatory; DuSable Museum; Chicago Velodrome; Jane Addams Hull-House Museum in Little Italy; Glenwood Avenue Arts District in Rogers Park; the Green Mill in Uptown; Dat Donut in Chatham-Morgan Park and Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles in Bronzeville.
The list also includes: Renegade Handmade in Wicker Park; Co-Prosperity Sphere in Bridgeport; Vida Simple Mural in Pilsen; Ping Tom Park in Chinatown; Merz Apothecary in Lincoln Square; Swedish Dala Horse in Andersonville; 63rd Street Beach; Milio’s Hair Studio and Music Box in Lakeview; the Michael Jordan Statue and Revolution Brewing in Logan Square.