Oklahoma City received one of five U.S. city badges recently presented by Foursquare, a location-based social networking application for mobile devices that encourages users to “check in” at area attractions. The coveted badge was the result of a grassroots nomination and promotion effort led by the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. Foursquare reported more than 15 million users worldwide as of January 2012 and has recorded over 1.5 billion check-ins, with millions more added daily. “Our interactive team had the vision to use this social media contest to promote Oklahoma at no cost to a global audience,” said Deby Snodgrass, executive director of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. “As travelers rely more on their mobile devices to plan trips and choose attractions, this is exactly the exposure Oklahoma’s tourism industry needs to grow. A Foursquare badge for Oklahoma City will encourage people to explore the area and visit new attractions which results in more tourism revenue for our state. ” Annual spending by travelers in Oklahoma in 2010 generated more than $6.2 billion for the state’s economy and supported almost 75,000 jobs. Foursquare created the city badge contest to encourage travel to and within in the United States. Destinations and individuals were asked to create a list of the best places to visit in their city and enter it into the contest. The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department’s interactive team selected a variety of attractions, lodging facilities and restaurants to be included on the “Oklahoma City’s Best” list. Each destination selected for the list has a tip, a photo and a link to its TravelOK.com page. TravelOK.com, the state’s official tourism website, recorded more than 2.1 million visitor sessions in 2011 and consistently ranks among the top 10 most visited state tourism websites in the country. The Oklahoma City list was promoted through the tourism department’s social media efforts and information about the contest was shared by the agency’s social media followers, including Gov. Mary Fallin and Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb. Currently the department’s own Oklahoma Tourism Foursquare page has more than 29,000 followers. Foursquare users will be able to earn the Oklahoma City badge, which was unlocked the evening of March 2, by visiting at least five of the places on the list in person and checking in at those locations through the Foursquare app. See a full list of participating Oklahoma City locations. Other city badge contest winners were Baltimore, MD; Richmond, VA; Des Moines, IA and Stamford, CT. All will join the ranks of 16 cities already in possession of a city badge on Foursquare: Paris, Istanbul, London, Milan, Berlin, Madrid, Tokyo, Singapore, Sao Paulo, Barcelona, Moscow, Sidney, Seattle, Chicago, Atlanta and New Orleans.