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Judging Foursquare-dom's Election Day Performance

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, November 3 2010

By tallying just over 50,000 voter check-ins yesterday, but a fraction of the 11 million people who clicked on Facebook's "I Voted" button, Foursquare's election project ( was a total failure. Or, by prompting more than 50,000 Americans to register their voting activity in a campaign only a few days old, Foursquare's election project was a great success. Take your pick.

Leslie Bradshaw, president of the digital firm JESS3, the lead partner behind the effort, is going with the latter:

It's funny you should ask. When we did the mock-ups, we were all wondering what kind of dummy numbers to use as placeholders and how many places to plan for (4 digits? 5 digits? 6?)

In the end, we all guessed that it would be in the 5 digit zone and when I saw it charging towards 50k, I was really moved. A drop in the bucket for certain against the 11 million+ that said "I Voted" over on Facebook, but a truly valiant effort for the emerging foursquare community.

Yes, Foursquare is still very much a niche hipster paradise. Their user base of four million is less and a hundredth of Facebook's, and not for nothing did 13,000 of those 50,000 polling place check-ins yesterday come from the great states of California and New York. But going for Foursquare is the fact that its approach of encouraging people to rack up digital badges for the things they do is baked right into other social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, so that aquiring an "I Voted" badge on Foursquare isn't an action that stays locked in that space. It trickles out for the rest of the world to see (or at least the portion of the world on Facebook and Twitter). And so, it's not everything. It's one more thing, and one more thing that adds weight to the notion that voting is meant to be a shared, social experience.

At least, that's the idea. Did you get your badge?