More Like the Awkward Badge…

September 1, 2010

As an avid foursquare user (13 mayorships including Penn Station and 27 badges) and lover (check-in 95% of the places I go) I am overcome with joy when I receive a new badge. There is no feeling within the social media world like receiving a new badge; you feel accomplished as though you have proved your worthiness within the location-based social media world. However, there is one badge I do not want: the GYT badge.

No, it is not a Gym-Yoga-Tan badge. The GYT badge is part of MTV’s “GYT: Get Yourself Tested” campaign. Foursquare users can go to their health care provider and shout “GYT” to receive the badge. MTV says the idea is to remove the stigma attached to getting checked out for STDs. The theory is that once your friends start shouting “GYT,” you will want to get the badge and get tested too.

Will that actually happen? I do not believe so.

First, I still have to explain Foursquare to new people everyday. I love Foursquare and am happy to spread the love, but people have no clue what I am talking about. Clearly, the word about the campaign will not circulate. If it does, people might focus more on understanding Foursquare than the campaign to get tested.

Second, who wants to broadcast his/her medical history? If you get the badge, people know you got tested. Noisy people might want to know your results. It is just an uncomfortable situation that no one would want to put themselves through–especially if your results were not what you expected (then again, you did get tested so you could get the medical attention needed).

Although it is plausible that MTV attempts to use social media to increase awareness and urge action about getting tested, I do not see this plan flourishing. It will most likely get overlooked. I am curious to see what happens, but I am assuming nothing.

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