© 2012 Zachary McCune

Foursquare Survey: NYC’s Most Popular Public Art

What are New York City’s most popular pieces of public art? In an effort to answer this question, I spent a month surveying Foursquare data for an article published in Hyperallergic. The top answers might not surprise you, but the full top 20 included lots of shocks.

Social media is constantly offering us new insights to user behaviors, preferences, and habits. Facebook and Twitter are often mined for trends in user behaviors, or for social “buzz” around keywords in real-time. Instagram is also entering this space as the pacing of image uploads with #Sandy or election results are used as indicators of society’s experiential focus.

Foursquare has been under-utilized. This is partly because the platform has not yet reached full maturity (20 Million Users as of April 2012) and partly because the use of check-in location services is highly variable (people check in mostly to urban restaurants, rather than work or homes, etc.).

But in New York City, the use of Foursquare is very, very high, and people use the service to mark all sorts of social experiences. Building on that, I decided to assess the popularity of public art (statues, sculptures, memorials, gardens, and fountains) in Manhattan based on the number of Foursquare check ins.

The results were exciting. I had more than enough data to assess this, and to visualize my results I even built a rough infographic (first ever – forgive me). Take a look.

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