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The Tech for Social Change Baltimore Meetup Message Board Meeting Logistics, Details, and Notes › 2011 June Meeting Notes - Ryan Goff & Andrea Snyder - Checking In About

2011 June Meeting Notes - Ryan Goff & Andrea Snyder - Checking In About Checkin-Ins

Kate B.
Baltimore, MD
Post #: 9
Ryan Goff, the Vice President and Director of Social Media Marketing at MGH, and Andrea Snyder, a Librarian at Enoch Pratt Free Library, joined us and talked about geolocation--what it is and how it's been used successfully.

Geolocation refers to identifying a real-world location. Just like other software, geolocation has developed a social component, which can be seen in tools like Foursquare and Facebook Places. These tools allow people to share and publish where they are and what they are doing. Often there is a gaming or monetary component to the process.

Facebook Places
Thirty million people have tried Facebook Places, which is integrated with Facebook. It both broadcasts information and allows for interaction within Facebook making it more personal. Facebook allows places to offer charities deals, where with each check-in a certain amount is donated to a charity.

More than 6.5 million people have registered for Foursquare and checked in more than 11 billion times. Foursquare broadcasts information to friends and strangers, depending on your privacy settings. However, for interaction, it integrates with other platforms, like Twitter. Foursquare allows businesses to offer deals for mayors, or the people who check in the most.

For nonprofits, EarthJustice and the Brooklyn Museum are great examples. In Baltimore, Enoch Pratt Free Library is using Foursquare. They opened their own account to check in at professional events. They also have a special for the mayor at the Central Library.

A few tips for organizations using geolocation tools:

  • Be different. If you are doing the same thing as someone else, it's not worth doing.
  • Promote it. You'll want to put up signs at the location and encourage bloggers to cover it. In Baltimore, Gus Sentementes at the Baltimore Sun is a great blogger to reach out to.
  • Integrate the effort with your other work. You need to make this project work well with your organization's other activities. Call out your mayor on Facebook or in your newsletter.
  • Use it yourself first. You can't brainstorm effectively unless you are an avid user.
  • Test and test and test. Different ideas work differently for different organizations.
Organizations might want to check out other geolocation tools, like GetGlue or SCVNGR as well. Or consider building activities to integrate with existing tools, like WTMD and the Urbanite did with The Great Baltimore Check-In.

Slides from this presentation are available online.

A huge thank you to Wide Angle Youth Media for hosting us Miller's Court. Wide Angle Youth Media helps people who are between 11 and 20 gain experience both in front of and behind the camera. They serve more than 500 kids per year. All of their programs are free and expose students in the Baltimore City Public School System to technology that they aren't necessarily exposed to in school. They tackle important issues, like Baltimore's blue lights and cameras, human rights, and transportation­.
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