Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Rahm Checks In on Foursquare

Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Rahm Emanuel is in a battle to become mayor once again.

    Thousands of Chicagoans have used the social media app Foursquare to become "the mayor" of local landmarks and businesses, and now the real one is getting in on the action.

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Friday the creation of the "Windy City" city badge, making Chicago the world's first city with its own Foursquare badge.

    Additionally he said he will now be on "ChicagosMayor" on Foursquare and will be "checking in" as he goes to communities across the city as well as leaving tips for fellow users.

    In order to earn the Windy City badge, users must "check-in" at five of 20 designated cultural attractions outside of Chicago's heavily-trafficked tourist landmarks.

    The locations are intended to spur the city's neighborhoods and include The Oriental Institute Museum in Hyde Park, Washington Park's Du Sable Museum, Chicago Velodrome in South Chicago and Jane Addams Hull-House Museum in Little Italy.

    The mayor announce the Windy City Badge with Foursquare co-founder Naveen Selvadurai at the Heartland Cafe in Rogers Park, one of the 20 locations.

    "Chicago, with its rich diversity in culture and business, is the ideal environment for that exploration," said Selvadurai in a statement.

    Emanuel said the badge was also intended to drive interest in small businesses. Through the application, small-business owners can keep tabs on patrons and offer rewards to frequent customers.

    Even as he spoke of the benefits of the new technology, he acknowledged he was completely unfamiliar with the application.

    "I want to be honest," Emanuel told the Chicago Sun-Times. "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?"

    The mayor's announcement came in advance of Social Media Week (SMW), which kicks off Monday. Chicago is one of 12 worldwide host cities for SMW.

    The move is also part of Emmanuel's larger initiative to use new technology for increasing accountability and transparency across city government. His office recently released an interactive map which pinpoints the mayor's movements across the city.

    By Friday afternoon, the live feed on Foursquare's website indicated users had started to acquire the badge.