Social Media as an Engine for Economic Growth

How about a FourSquare badge for helping out in your community? A badge for shopping and spending within a needed section of town? One for supporting newly opened businesses or one of for volunteering? Social media and the current fervor of its users should ought to be able to be channeled to support worthy causes, not just hitting the most bars or becoming the mayor of your favorite restaurant. It is these kinds of applications that will help to raise social media’s image and demonstrate how social media can be utilized to create temporary communities that can make a difference.

Imagine the office of economic development works with FourSquare and creates a badge for people that check in 10 of the 20 Main Street businesses. It then offers a dinner party to all the badgeholders with the Mayor (the real one in this case). The naturally viral nature of one person opening the badge on their friends/followers would lead to success. And the implied endorsement of a friend’s visit could lead to greater trial from those reluctant to even go to Main Street.

What about a Supporter of the Arts badge that would be made available to people who check into a series of local arts events? Show up at enough plays, concerts or art openings on Main Street and this could entitle you to a discounted ticket package or a V.I.P. reward.
If behavioral economics has taught us anything it is that it often does not take a lot of incentive to change a person’s behavior. Sometime all it takes it a pretty icon showing up on your screen (oh, and your friends knowing that you got it).

One response to “Social Media as an Engine for Economic Growth

  1. Pingback: It Takes a Village | Grow Up

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