A well-known social media app is giving Detroit some props.
Foursquare, a GPS-based program that lets users check in to real-world sites for virtual rewards, released a Detroit badge this week, awarded after users check in at five venues in the area. The badge is silver and blue and looks like a car wheel. It is one of about 50 community-specific badges released in the last year and a half by the New York-based company.
"We launched the Motor City badge this week as a nod to our community in Detroit," said Laura Covington, Foursquare spokeswoman.
When opened, the badge gives a congratulatory message that mentions Detroit standards like the Motown and coney dogs.
The app rewards users in other ways, such as crowning someone "mayor" if he or she checks in to a location more than anyone else in a 60-day period. Foursquare also allows for networking, letting one user know where another is. And, depending on the agreement between Foursquare and the venue, a user might receive a promotion or a discount upon checking into a certain spot.
Like all social media sites, Foursquare has come under scrutiny for privacy issues, spawning a backlash website a few years ago called Please Rob Me. That site used publicly posted Foursquare information to demonstrate how criminals could use the site to determine when people weren't home.
The company wouldn't release figures on the number of Detroit badges opened so far, but it does report having 30 million users, including Detroit resident Brian Vitale, who opened his Detroit badge on Tuesday.
"I think it's pretty cool," said the 32-year-old Toyota engineer who said Foursquare helped him get the most out of a recent trip to South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas. "I think people reach out through all aspects of social media. The way they created it was good. If you are in the D, it's like a shout-out."
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