Have You Checked-In? 1

The Multiplication of Four Square Day

It all started with one man and a vision. Now, I am not sure if it is because Nate Bonilla-Warford is an Optometrist and he could “see” things more clearly than the rest of us, or, because he is an Eye Doctor and he just wanted to sell more glasses, that he was able to visualize this amazing idea. Whatever the reason, Four Square Day, the first global social media holiday, was born and April 16 will never be the same again. (I am actually good with that considering that April 15 has such a bad rap with most Americans.)

So, how exactly was Four Square Day “framed?” Well, Nate is an Eye Doctor that cares and dedicates his career to improving the vision of children. He is also a Social Media Fanatic. Realizing that optometry remains blurred in the eyes of social networkers, Nate decided to try to bring more clarity of the profession to his community. Using the GPS phone-app “Four Square” (where people can “Check-in” at the location they are present at, become the “mayor” of that location, and earn points and badges) Nate developed the idea to create “Four Square Day” hoping to generate more awareness of his business, Bright Eyes Family Vision Care (www.visionsource-brighteyes.com). His plan was to inspire the users of this app in the community all at the same time and offer incentives for folks who “checked-in” at local businesses, hoping to create awareness of the “Four Square” App and unite the customer with commerce. Nate also hoped that businesses would become aware of the great potential and power that social media has within the realm of marketing.

Even Nate didn’t have the foresight to see what was coming next. He assembled a team of social networkers together and they scheduled a “Four Square Day” with a scheduled swarm to meet on April 16 (taken from the idea of four squared –  April being the 4th month and 4×4=16). They all then began to promote it via social media. Word quickly spread, as it does on the Internet, and technologists from around the world decided to join in. What began as an organic “community builder” soon grew into an International phenomena. Beijing, Berlin, Sydney, Shanghai, Chicago, New York, Toronto and Hollywood are some of the cities to jump on board, just to name a few. Four Square Day spread like wildfire around the world. Yes, Dr. Nate and his team were delightfully surprised. And now, Technology Enthusiasts are “checking in” all over the planet and networking in a fun and entertaining way. The mayor of Nate’s hometown, Pam Iorio, declared Friday, April 16, as being “Four Square Day” in the Tampa Bay area. All of this is a result of one man’s desire to build community within his own town.

While Nate’s story may seem awe-inspiring to some, it is possible that this scenario could have happened to anyone. When we start to pursue “community building” instead of promoting ourselves, people are quick to respond. When we realize that it really isn’t about us, but about others, things start to happen. When we use what we have within our reach and share it with others, that’s when we affect our world. It’s not always about who we know, how much we know, or how hard we work that makes a difference. But, sometimes, it’s just a matter of looking at the simple things, being transparent and organic with fellow mankind, and ourselves and taking what we have in our hand (things already available to us, like social media: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) and doing something with it. It’s about being willing to step out, willing to be a team and willing to work with others. If we could all grasp that concept, then I believe that more authentic ideas will emerge that will lead us to the change that we want to see in this country and around the world. While Nate was trying to improve the vision of children with his dream of “Four Square Day,” I have a feeling that really it was his own vision that was improved.

Please excuse me now; I think it’s time to go “check- in.”

For more information on Four Square Day, please go to: www.4sqday.com

You can also follow Four Square Day on Twitter @4sqday  (#4sqday) and Facebook www.Facebook.com/FoursquareDay

For a list of participating cities and recently posted events, go to www.4sqday.com/cities

A special “Thanks” goes out to Nate and his team:

Jessica Barnett

Gregg Hilfering

Amber Osborne

Cate Colgan

Susie Steiner

Bill Cason

Kim Randall

Antony Fancis

Rhea O’Connor

Allie Barkely

Kevin D. Lyons

David Alexander

Jason Keene

Mike Hoilihan

Chris Kopyar

  • Natebw

    Thanks for the shout-out, Vicki!

    It has been a very interesting few weeks and I have had the opportunity to reflect some on your second your last paragraph. Basically the question I have been asking myself is, “So, the the Foursquare Day phenomenon a once and lifetime experience, or is this what happens when you use the tools of social media as they work best: connecting individuals to others who have similar interests…..

    I don't have the answer, but I'd like to to think that anyone can do what we've done here in Tampa and have a ball doing it.