Last week my mom informed me she had become mayor of our gym.
At first, for a quick second, I thought she was referring to becoming “mayor” on Foursquare. And no, I’m not talking about the old grade school game with a large red rubber ball and four players.
Foursquare is a social-media game, played in real-time, on the smart-phone of your choice. When you go to your favorite restaurant (or any restaurant), the local coffee shop, etc., you “check-in” on your phone. Using your phone’s GPS, Foursquare finds locations around you, and then you make the selection of where you wish to check-in.
Frequent a place enough times, well more than anyone else, and you become “mayor”.
So back to my mom, the “mayor” of Life Time Fitness. While she had developed proficiency with her iPhone 3G, I would be supremely shocked to find a Foursquare app on her main screen. And I was right. Mom had become mayor without the use of Foursquare.
This was interesting to me because mom attained the title in reality doing what she does best, being her social self. It was not self-proclaimed as I had thought. Certainly it involved her frequenting the gym enough to be noticed, but it also required something more. Being known.
Mom’s claim to fame at our gym is that no one invades her personal space in a group fitness class. If one does, you will get a tap on the shoulder asking you to move. This isn’t to say my mom thinks she runs the floor, but she will call you out.
She is also a talker, and being from the South, knows no stranger (both traits which I inherited from her). According to her, one person started calling her mayor, and it just spread. And then one day (the same day she informed me of her title), she walked in door and the gym manager was calling her that.
For me the take away was this. While Foursquare does require you to get out in the world, there’s no requirement for interaction. You could go to the same coffee shop everyday, ears plugged listening to Pandora, eyes intently focused on your laptop screen or–maybe–a book.
While you may become mayor, who would know? Only people who use Foursquare. The social part of the game comes in adding “friends” and developing communities based on mutual likings for a particular location. But again, this is not a requirement, just hopeful thinking.
Note: I use Foursquare and will become mayor of Santa Rita Cantina, again.