The Foursquare Day story is one about people, ideas, community, Tampa Bay, social media, and crazy deadlines. Foursquare Day started as whimsical thought by Nate Bonilla-Warford. An optometrist by training, he has been a dabbler in social media for years. Immediately after Foursquare became available in the Tampa Bay area, he very quickly saw its value and blogged about it. From a personal standpoint, the friendly competition of the game was engaging. He found himself discovering new places such as Yoshi Café, which, it turns out, has better and cheaper sushi than the supermarket next door. As a business owner, Foursquare clearly offered a way to connect with and build relationships with patrons with almost no financial expense.
Nate is amused by simple number relationships like squares and primes and he makes a big deal about Pi Day each year. The thought struck him that since four-squared equals 16, it would be great to check into Foursquare on the 4th 16th of the year, otherwise known as 4 / 16 or April 16th.
Nate floated the idea on Foursquare’s Getsatisfaction.com forum on March 12, 36 days before April 16th. An entire week passed with no activity before Kenneth Glanton suggested a Foursquare Day badge. He shared the idea with many of his friends on Twitter. Prompted by Ken’s enthusiasm and the recent excitement over Foursquare’s success at SXSW, Nate wrote up the Foursquare Day proposal and started a Facebook event on March 22, with 25 days left.
Within hours Laura Petrolino, a friend of Nate’s, contacted him with some ideas of ways to run with the story. The following day she set up the Foursquare Day Facebook Fanpage and wrote this blog post, explaining nicely why local businesses would benefit from participating in Foursquare Day. Also on that day Nate met Jessica Barnet at a social media lunch meeting. She got to work promoting the idea and contacted the Foursquare team about the idea which resulted in their March 26 announcement on Twitter.
This was re-tweeted over a hundred times and drew much more attention to the Foursquare Day Concept. There was exactly three weeks to go until the newly-official day.
Word spread via Twitter and Facebook and, yes, even in real life. Many planning meetings were held and many blogs, tweets, and videos were posted online. During this time, the concept of Foursquare Day grew from simply being a day to check in to the first global social media holiday, which Nate described here.
Certainly many, many people from all over Tampa Bay and the world have participated in shaping Foursquare and we are very grateful! Although many people were interested and helped immensely, a small group of people made up the core of the Foursquare Day.
And of course, all the Foursquare Communities around the world that make an event like this possible.
Additional thanks to the founding Tampa Team:
and Allie Barkley.
Thanks, also, to
and Chris Kopyar
for the awesome job the did on the logo and graphics design, and website. Certainly many, many people from all over Tampa Bay and the world have participated in shaping Foursquare and we very grateful.