Philly gets a FourSquare badge to please tourists and geeks alike

    Philly just won quite a consolation prize.

    Despite not having been one of the five U.S. cities in FourSquare’s #VisitUs battle to receive a badge on the social networking platform, Philly now has a badge anyway.

    FourSquare allows users to virtually check in to locations and earn badges and privileges at places they visit frequently. That concept extends not just to businesses and landmarks, but whole cities, as well. 

    Baltimore; Richmond, Va.; Des Moines; Oklahoma City and Stamford, Ct., won badges through the #VisitUs contest, which Geekadelphia blogger Allie Harcharek had hoped Philly would win.

    “It’s great for those towns,” Harcharek said of the five winners. Those small cities need all the social media help they can get.

    But FourSquare must have a softspot for Philly, because after the contest earlier this year, its team reached out to Geekadelphia to collaborate on a Philadelphia badge. It’s based on two lists Geekadelphia created of local FourSquare destinations ranging from sports stadiums to small businesses to places that appeal to one’s geekier side.

    “It’s great they’re finally reaching out to Philadelphia,” Harcharek said. The network used to be very New York-centric, and its initial city badges catered more toward international cities. “Philly was kind of snubbed.”

    No longer. FourSquare users can now check into any five of the dozens of places on this list to unlock the official Phanatic Badge.

    “I think they did a really great job,” Harcharek said of FourSquare’s work on the badge. “I think it’s going to be fantastic,” based on the results Visit Philly has seen with its own FourSquare experiment.

    So now that Philly has its own FourSquare badge, what’s next for the city in terms of social media?

    “There’s a lot the actual city could be doing,” Harcharek said. The city could be using its own resources to leverage social media use, be it Instagram, tumblr or FourSquare. Because if you’re an out-of-towner passing through or a tourist looking to make the most of a vacation, someone’s got to tell you what opportunities are out there.

    It’s an experience Harcharek knows firsthand — she’s a Jersey resident. “I’m not a Philly native,” she said. “I’m way more inclined to visit a place that’s on [a social media list].”

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal