Foursquare Mayor of the Year

Location based services such as Foursquare allow the most loyal frequenter of the venue to be recognised as the “mayor”. Some mayors simply gloat, but the best help their fellow citizens explore a city.

President Lyndon B. Johnson once said “When the burdens of the presidency seem unusually heavy, I always remind myself it could be worse. I could be a mayor.” This award is given to a person who has used location-based social media to creatively make a venue a more welcoming and more social environment. Nominees were judged on their cleverness and impact.

Also be sure to check out the Location of the Year Shorty.

Baratunde Thurston is a comedian, author, and digital director for The Onion who lives in Brooklyn. He hosts PopSci’s Future Of on the Science Channel, and his book How To Be Black comes out this year. In 2010, his friend Jennifer Magnolfi rivaled him for mayorship of the Nolita eatery Delicatessen. During their epic and comedic battle, Thurston created an Obama-like campaign poster and a political blog. Magnolfi drew in supporters with free drinks. Thurston held a rally, and gave a speech. The eatery created special cocktails for the competitors. Metromix and WNYC covered the campaign. In August, Magnolfi ousted Thurston as mayor when he couldn’t check in because he’d gone to help a friend in the Bronx who was, ironically, running in a close New York State Senate race.


Alexandra Klasinski @alexandrak

Alexandra Klasinski is a 29-year old photographer who lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and works for the photography-oriented digital community Lomographic Society International. Klasinski was recognized in 2010 by Zagat as the Foursquare mayor of Momofuku Noodle Bar, chef David Chang’s modern noodle eatery in Manhattan. She told Zagat that she didn’t set out to become mayor of noodle bar, but happened to get it and has fought to hold onto the mayorship ever since. In the interview she said, “I have a few other Mayorships that are morning coffee and drunk-pizza related, but I’m considering taking on the Momofuku Ko mayor.”

Douglas H. Wheelock @Astro_Wheels

On October 22, 2010, American astronaut Douglas H. Wheelock became the first person to check into Foursquare from outer space. Wheelock earned a NASA Explorer badge from Foursquare, as well as a free scoop of astronaut ice cream, and effectively became Foursquare mayor of space. The check-in also heralded Foursquare’s new partnership with NASA, which encourages users to “explore the universe.” Wheelock is also a Shorty Award finalist for Real-Time Photo of the Year.

Big Boi @BigBoi

Big Boi is the stage name for Antwan Andre Patton, an American rapper and half of the hip hop duo Outkast. He also has a successful solo career, and has performed with artists such as Mary J. Blige, Chris Brown, and Jay-Z. In October 2010, Big Boi helped the University of Nebraska-Lincoln break Foursquare’s record for most check-ins at a single location during a concert. The university ended up getting over 800 check-ins at the Swarm, and Big Boi became the mayor. “We broke the motherf&#!ing record,” he said in a post-concert video. “And I got a new badge!” Currently he is Foursquare mayor of Stankonia Studios in Atlanta.

Jennifer Kye @jinkwell

Jennifer Kye is the 24-year-old community manager for mobile game developer Gameloft and the reigning mayor of Saigon Sandwiches, a Vietnamese sandwich shop in San Francisco. She has also held the mayorship of San Francisco restaurants Turtle Tower, Salt House and CeFiore. “[Saigon Sandwiches] is a hole-in-the-wall kind of dig, so I think the ladies at the counter don’t even bat a lash,” she told Zagat during an interview last September about Foursquare. “If I strolled in, loudly proclaiming Mayorship, they’d probably give me a blank look and shrug their shoulders.”

Sahu Habibi @sahu

Sahu Habibi is a New York City-based freelance marketing specialist and mayor of the original Shake Shack, a well-known burger stand in Madison Square Park. Habibi was in a battle for Shake Shack mayor with a Foursquare user named Brian P., who developed the “Shakedown” iPhone application to tell users how long they’d have to wait in line. However, Habibi has managed to hold onto the mayorship since February 2010. In an interview with Zagat he said, “I had grand visions that I could be the Mayor of all the great burger spots in NYC. That seemed way too daunting of a task, and I didn’t think there would be a special burger badge to show the doctors after the meat-induced brain aneurysm I would have had.”

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