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Monthly Archives: November 2011


I’ve been proud that Tampa, the birthplace of 4sqDay, has had progressive capital-M-Mayors that have supported the social-media scene and foursquare in particular. For the first 4sqDay, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio issued a proclamation declaring April 16th to be “Foursquare Day.”  In 2011, Mayor Bob Buckhorn invited me to participate in a 4sqDay ceremony (that’s me behind the tree) and declare a Foursquare Day Mayor of Tampa.

Today, however, Mayor Buckhorn has taken it to a completely new level by actively joining foursquare. And he is not the kind of Mayor to just set up an account and let it idle. He’s got a activity:

Lists by Mayor Buckhorn include City Parks, Attractions, Dining and Shopping, Government Buildings and Public Safety. Residents of the city as well as tourists will be able to see the unique places Tampa has to offer, all recommended by the city’s real-life Mayor. At many locations, Buckhorn has left his own personal tips ranging from his favorite ride at Busch Gardens to his favorite meal at the famous Columbia Restaurant.

I am excited about this development for a number of reasons. First, I think it is simply good for Tampa. Although it doesn’t always get recognized for it, Tampa has a lot of exciting tech stuff going on. Second,  I think it is good for Tampa’s citizens. There are great spots in the city that are right in people’s neighborhoods and they might not even know it, but they make discover it upon checking in. Finally, I think it is a smart move for Mayor Buckhorn to be so social.  For a politician, interacting with one’s constituents is definitely a plus in my book.


Who will be the next Mayor to join foursquare? Let us know if your Mayor does!


We love highlighting creative and helpful uses of foursquare. 4sqDay contributor Mareks Matisons recently wrote about a recent example on his blog.

Here is a snippet:

In this weekend all my country is celebrating – Latvian state had officially been proclaimed on November 18, 1918. “Staro Riga” Light Festival is taking place these days in Riga, capital of the Latvia.

And for the short weekend of national holidays SEB bank has chosen to run their first campaign in foursquare to support SOS Children’s Villages in a different manner. You are welcome to visit a newly opened branch of the bank, check in and by doing that particular check-in you are donating – the bank will support SOS Villages once more and promised to transfer 1 lat (amount equal approx. 1.5 USD) to the NGO for each and every check-in.

giant foursquare cling

I am a heavy foursquare recruiter. I love explaining the service, signing individuals and business up for foursquare and getting folks in the routine of checking in. I’m not pushy, but my passion for the product can be downright contagious. I’ve been known in the workplace for interjecting foursquare into any conversation – no matter if the subject is marketing, traveling, shopping or lunch. So when I had the opportunity to go out to lunch on my birthday with a large group, I made sure to pick a location with a special. I picked a company fave, Zoës Kitchen. I had never been and saw they had a foursquare special: 10% off with a check-in.  I made sure everyone in my group unlocked it!

Normally I support small, local businesses, but truthfully foursquare is a great tool for larger brands as well. There are chains I that I only patronized because of their check-in special: RadioShack, American Eagle Outfitters, GAP and Cinnabon come to mind. Eateries that are a dime a dozen like McDonald’s or Chili’s actually stand out in the sea of chain restaurant ubiquity due to their check-in specials.  I often think of foursquare as promoting mom and pop retail, but without the support and publicity from larger brands they would not be where they are today.

Zoës Kitchen is a “fast-casual” chain based in the South offering Mediterranean-style food. They get social media. Zoës rocks twitter, congratulating new foursquare mayors, advertising specials and responding to tweets. Their twitter account even gave me a retweet when I explained why I chose them for lunch. I’m sure they weren’t expecting a pack of internet marketers all getting 10% off!

What chain restaurant or store have you given business to specifically because they had a foursquare special?

Photographers have a great opportunity to shine on foursquare. This was the subject of a recent #4sqchat (a weekly chat on Twitter at 9p ET).

1. Third Party Apps

On Rock Center with Brian Williams, acclaimed photographer Annie Liebovitz shares her opinion that the best point and shoot camera is the iPhone. You might already be playing paparazzi with a number of different apps on your phone.

PicPlz, Instagram, and Foodspotting are a few popular applications for photographs that can also check you in on foursquare.


2. Photo Shout on Check-In

A tweet gets 140 characters. A shout on foursquare gets 200 characters. Pictures, as they say, are worth a 1000 words. They also look really good on foursquare’s news feed. You also have the option to let anyone at the venue see the picture or just keep it among your friends. A public pictures will expand your reach.

ProTip: Make it 2000+ words by adding multiple pics. Just click the +Photo button next to +Comment on your check-in.


3. Tips

Leaving tips at foursquare venues helps share insider knowledge and thoughts. Pictures help. Personally, I tend to pay more attention to photo tips. Share a great photo about the venue as a tip. Even if you’re not a food photographer – you still have the opportunity to share something interesting, intriguing, or your photographic perspective.


4. Lists

Curate your photography experience. Connect tips that link to your interests as a photographer. You could have a list of favorite photography locations in your city, a list of clients/client venues, and a sporting venues (if you are a sports photographer).

Here’s a great example that was shared by Chris Thompson, editor of,  during #4sqchat:



5. Get More Exposure With A Foursquare Page (Bonus Tip)

Really serious about your pictures? Set up a foursquare page and start getting followers. Here’s a nice example… one of the best that I came across when searching for photographers on foursquare. This was also shared by @airthom during #4sqchat.

Notice how Solar Flare Photography has watermarked their photos, too. How is that possible? Edit your pictures, send them to your phone, and then go back through your foursquare check-in history and add a photo tip. Well done!


Now get out there and take some pictures!

#4sqday video blog? Careful. The Interwebz might not be ready for this.

Question of the day: What’s your favorite all-time Foursquare badge?

Many foursquare users love it when a new badge comes out, but some have long forgotten about that core badge they received two or more months ago. In addition, there are people who just “jump” around the globe in an effort to get the latest badge; consequently, there is the great debate over whether this badge hunting technique is fair, cheating, or somewhere in-between, but now there is a new type of badge that was just unveiled by foursquare called expertise badges. Once you earn one of these core expertise badges, you can level up as you check into more venues that fall under the requirements of that badge! This means that you will be checking out new venues that you might not have thought to give a try before. This new badge feature motivates users to get out and explore the area, and this is a great thing. At the time of this post, there are currently 24 of these core expertise badges, but foursquare is working to unlock more expertise badges in the near future. Underneath this new feature is another level of gamification, allowing users to see which of their friends have unlocked a higher level of a particular badge than they have; similar to how some people have a friendly competition on the 7-day points leaderboard, foursquare now allows you to compete with friends over who has the greatest level of expertise in a given area! Personally, I am anxious for the expertise feature to be unlocked for the gym rat badge; as somebody who religiously goes to the gym each and every day, I am curious what level I am at! Which levels are you at? Which badge are you working hard to level-up right now? Are there badges that you hope will be given this feature in the future? And are you more motivated to check-in now than you were before?


Cue the marching band. Get excited! More and more colleges are joining foursquare for their own school badge.

To date, 26 28 universities have released their special school badge. The schools vary in size, from University of California, to University of Louisville. Each university has different requirements for achieving the badge. However, they all agree on on requirement: follow the school on foursquare.,-97.207031&spn=48.807493,74.707031&z=3&output=embed
View College badges in a larger map

We hope foursquare can reach 50 schools by 2013! For all you badge hunters out there, you can only unlock 1 University badge! (I wish I could state how many badges each university has earned) For a clean list of badges, check out


After spending a year and a half developing a social media centric community with key individuals, I found myself for the first time kicking back in a single seater leather couch with my legs elevated resting on a perfectly matched leather ottoman during our Foursquare Kalamazoo 1st Annual Rock the Chili Cook-Off. Most of the time I’m the one running around getting things coordinated or making sure the people who RSVP knew where they were going or reminding people to check-in. It was a great feeling to see and experience the social side of the efforts of my own brain child being led by someone else.

Working on the premise of “find a need, fill a need,” Foursquare Kalamazoo in Michigan was formed. Some come for the education, some come for the food, some come for the camaraderie as well as social good, and others are just trying to figure out what is this social media community. The need continues to grow as more people begin to catch wind that these organizations are around for all of the above reasons.

More partnerships of wanting to replicate a similar community model within their own business/organizations for their customers have come about and the fascinating part is people WANT to get involved in the social media scene. Kalamazoo is growing in the social media realm and it’s an exciting time to watch it evolve while it learns to pick up on the basic mobile applications that we have learned to love and depend on such as Hootsuite, camera phones, scanning QR codes, Angry Birds and more.

One of the fascinating things I’ve observed as a social media connector is watching our social media groups grow, reach out to others and educate them about the fundamentals. I gathered that our group have a common desire that the more people we get on to Foursquare and social media, the more opportunities there are to see offerings from a business or to gain a new friends. It is a social gathering and the social aspect draws people to connect. The platform itself is but a tool to achieve these social means or even as a way to enhance the social connection. Other than that what people are drawn to is the social experience – connecting with others with common interests, which goes back to basics in socializing with others.

Overall, the key thing to remember: There is a reason why it is called “social media” and the part “social” plays a huge component in developing a successful campaign or community. We tend to get caught up in the semantics or the intricacies as well as wonderment of social media, but what makes social media successful is the basic connection with other like-minded people. For without that key piece, a cool social media campaign is just a cool campaign without a purpose. Creating an environment to connect on common interests via social media is critical. Sometimes at the end of the day, what drives our Kalamazoo social media groups to keep grow is the very desire to connect and explore their community while catching up with an old friend.

As we plan for 2012 Foursquare Day just remember that however great or small the event becomes, our focus should be on the connections we build and the new found friendships we are going to develop.


One of the best things about Foursquare – communities are growing worldwide and local groups are creating amazing initiatives. Today, I’ll try to describe Latvia in foursquare briefly.

If someone would ask me to describe Latvia as an material, I would say – amber; if as a taste – a slightly bitter taste of a homemade beer. If color – all the autumn colors; but if the description would involve places worth to visit I would undoubtly reach to my mobile and press the Explore button in foursquare app.

If you are looking to Latvia on the map – zoom in – it’s a small country near the Baltic Sea. And we have around 7125 foursquare users here, which in comparison with 10+ million of foursquare fans worldwide also could sound not quite impressive.

Despite the numbers – you can feel the energy inside those who dedicate time to foursquare not only a SU team here, but also creators of local (and for this moment – international) stats tool – That’s an analytics resource developed from, a project seen by @dens and spotted also by @aboutfoursquare last year.

We had our first swarm party and fun events. Local mobile carrier held a new shop opening as a swarm party last year. There was also a badge hunting party held by a bus line on a Foursquare day. Just recently, I was happy to see that we have successfully moved over simple swarms – few well attended musical events acquire swarm badges in no-time.

Brands – ‘what about them’– you would ask? Frankly speaking, there are some interesting projects from the brands.  The most valued is LiveRiga ( – a tourist information service. They are giving tips and insights about the places worth visiting here in Latvia.  Some of the national brands are experimenting with foursquare but as always, the most effective and agile are small businesses. These small businesses have learned the most precious is the possibility to build up brand loyalty among consumers.

As an answer from community, were sounds of lists covering happy hour specials, great outdoor places and memorable party experiences.

I do not want sound like an annoying sales agent, but you should plan your journeys to Latvia – enjoy the wild nature, great food and lots of places to check in!.

– Mareks (@marruciic)

Did you know a foursquare community manager has made history? Well, it’s the HISTORY channel to be exact, but for us History channel fans that could be one and the same. Ian O’Keefe, manager of the Foursquare Corpus Christi community, was featured on the BBC-produced television show Hairy Bikers. Ian, a noted breakfast taco enthusiast, invited chef Paul Patranella and biker Bill Allen to sample some of Corpus Christi’s finest (and strangest) breakfast tacos.  The episode, Big Shrimp, showcased traditional South Texas fare as Ian and his co-blogger Kevin brought the bikers to some of Corpus’ favorite taquerias. And yes, Ian checked in on foursquare along the way.

TacotopiaFoursquare Corpus Christi’s account naturally has a Taco Shops list, featuring some of the best of “The World Capital of Breakfast Tacos.” It’s collaborative and followers are encouraged to add their favorite to the list.

Foursquare Corpus Christi is also administrated by Ian’s wife, Monica… which I believe is the only community to have a husband and wife team. Full disclosure: I handed over the reins to 4sqCC upon moving and announcing I was seeking someone to take over.  I received a pitch from Ian and Monica, friends of mine and a natural fit.  They are both small business owners with existing social and business networks, good writers and huge fans of foursquare.  I couldn’t have left 4sqCC in better hands!

Here’s an interview I recorded with Ian and Monica, discussing Hairy Bikers, foursquare use in Corpus Christi and even 4sqDay 2012.



You can find repeats of Ian’s Hairy Bikers episode on the History Channel. Hairy Bikers airs on Friday nights, but History loves to repeat itself (ha!), so I’m sure it’s on all the time.