Hear ye, hear ye! Be it proclaimed that April 16, in the year of our Lord Two Thousand Eleven, is officially Foursquare Day in Burlington, as decreed by our great and good City Council. Huzzah! In honor of this great occasion, all citizens of Burlington are asked — nay, required — to sign up for this revolutionary social media network and start checking in posthaste to collect useless badges and meaningless municipal titles.
Thanks to city councilors Ed Adrian, Joan Shannon, Karen Paul and Emma Mulvaney-Stanak, who proposed the Foursquare Day resolution, April 16 will live in our collective memory as the day Burlington sold out to the location-based social networking hype.
Now, you might be under the notion that you elected city councilors to actually, you know, legislate stuff. But I can assure you that's not the case. Clearly, those whom you elected have determined that, rather than fix the city's problems, a better use of their time would be drafting, pitching and passing resolutions about a social medium that seems all but irrelevant in Burlington.
Apparently, the Burlington City Council is not alone in its championing of Foursquare, the social media site that allows users to check in to various venues, amass virtual merit badges, get crowned "mayor" of a location and earn occasional deals. (To read about Vermont's Foursquare super mayors, click here.) According to the resolution, "a growing number of other cities in the United States" have designated April 16 Foursquare Day. At least we can take comfort in the knowledge that it wasn't our idea.
What I'm wondering is what Foursquare Day will look like. Will there be a parade of fake mayors high-stepping down Church Street? How about a smartphone lightshow set to the tune of a John Phillip Sousa march? Will there at least be free candy? Fingers crossed.
In order to understand this whole Foursquare Day more clearly, it might help to see the resolution. For your reading pleasure:
Resolution Relating to
FOURSQUARE DAY, APRIL 16, 2011
CITY OF BURLINGTON
In the year Two Thousand Eleven Resolved by the City Council of the City of Burlington, as follows:
WHEREAS Burlington was recently recognized by Men’s Health Magazine as the 13th most socially networked city in the United States (thereby receiving an A- grade) based on social media usage per capita and traffic on social media sites;
WHEREAS despite this excellent grade, Burlingtonians can strive for a grade of A+ and break into the top five most socially networked cities which are Washington, DC, Atlanta, Denver, Minneapolis and Seattle;
WHEREAS the City of Burlington through its various departments has already started to engage in social media networking through the social network known as Twitter by sending tweets through user names such as @BTVDPW (Public Works) @BPDVT (Police); and @BURLCITYARTS;
WHEREAS Foursquare is an emerging social media network that through Twitter helps residents and visitors locate and enjoy merchandise, restaurants and venues, thereby contributing to growth in the business community and increasing consumption of locally grown and owned businesses;
WHEREAS, any Foursquare user can become the “mayor” of a location based on patronage of that location and it is thus appropriate that the City Council (that as a body has several individual councilors who are known to utilize social media from time to time) and the Mayor of the City of Burlington, on behalf of the many Foursquare “mayors,” join the growing number of other cities in the United States that have designated April 16, 2011, “Foursquare Day”;
WHEREAS Burlington wishes to foster the growth of social media and its ability to connect individuals and government thereby better serving the people and businesses that continually help to place Burlington at the top of many quality of life lists;
WHEREAS Foursquare can be used to increase support for our local businesses and help the Burlington Foursquare community engage the myriad of social, economic and cultural opportunities that abound in our fair City;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT April 16, 2011, is hereby proclaimed “Foursquare Day” in Burlington
Let's examine the highlighted bits:
1. an A- grade — In my world, an A- is pretty damn good. Not total mastery, but pretty close. Stop being a grade snob, Burlington.
2. Burlingtonians can strive for a grade of A+ — Unattainable. There's no such thing as perfection.
3. ...various departments have already started to engage in social media networking through the social network known as Twitter — Um, I thought this was about Foursquare. Twitter's not the same thing.
4. Foursquare is an emerging social media network that through Twitter... — Dear city councilors, Foursquare isn't just something that can be used through Twitter. Again, the two networks are not the same thing. Foursquare is its own app independent of Twitter, but can be set up to send out updates through Twitter, as well as Facebook.
5. ...growth in the business community and increasing consumption of locally grown and owned businesses — I'd like to see some empirical data on this. Does Foursquare really do this? Or is this just wishful thinking?
6. ...can become the “mayor” of a location based on patronage of that location... — Which is why Ed Adrian is "mayor" of city hall — because he checks in there more than anyone else. Foursquare is the closest some people will ever get to being real mayors.
7. ...the City Council (that as a body has several individual councilors who are known to utilize social media from time to time)... — Why, Councilor Adrian has been known to use social media. You know, to take pictures of citizens at City Council meetings, post the photos on Twitter and ask if anyone knows who the people are. Glad to know the residents of this fair city have his full attention.
8. ...Burlington Foursquare community engage the myriad of social, economic and cultural opportunities... — this is just puzzling. Can't you just do that stuff yourself without a smartphone? How did people find out where to go and what to do in the olden days? And there's no "of" after myriad.
Personally, I'd like to see a LinkedIn Day in Burlington. Then maybe all the people who signed up for this redheaded stepchild of social networks and now can't quite figure out what its purpose is can get an answer or two.
What other fake holidays would you like to see instituted in Burlington?