Hothlanta Was Epic

To say that the weather event that took place here in metro Atlanta last week was Epic would be accurate in more ways than one.  A snow and ice storm that cripled our city for several days was also the source of the first Super Duper and Epic Swarms in GA and the Southeast.  Most of the action took place on the first night when the snow started blanketing the city on Sunday, Januray 9, 2011. The timeline of the Foursquare activities for that evening were as follows:

  • 7:56 pm – Snowcation in Hothlanta was created and I checked in
  • 8:15 pm – by this time the venue had reached a regular swarm
  • 9:05 pm – the venue hit Super Swarm status
  • 9:40 pm – the first Super Duper Swarm badge was unlocked in both GA and the Southeast
  • 10:30 pm – the venue passed the 1000 check-ins mark unlocking the Epic Swarm badge (also a GA & SE first)
  • Midnight – there were approx 1700 people checked in which was the highest simultaneous total the venue would reach

The venue was under an almost constant state of Swarm and Super Swarm over the course of the next 5 days and even hit another Super Duper level on Monday the 10th.  I must admit when the venue was opened I figured we would reach the Super Duper level, but never considered the Epic badge a possibility…much less hitting 1700!  The Snowcation in Hothlanta was eventually closed down on Friday, but the overall totals the venue accumulated were impressive…most impressive: 10,495 check-ins by 4,314 people who left 174 tips and uploaded 181 photos.

Photo by Luke Thornton

The term Hothlanta was not a new one to this week as several of us Star Wars fans had been using it for a while as is evident by the tips & tags from the Icepocalypse ATL  on Dec 15th and the White Christmas in Atlanta 2010 venues.  While not the first use of the word Hothlanta, this venue was the first time a Foursquare venue was created with the name and because of the swarm events on Sunday night both the terms “Epic Swarm” and “Hothlanta” became trending topics on Twitter in Atlanta.  Hothlanta trended for several days which is what sent the name from a joke amongst a few Star Wars folks into a city wide phenomenon that every news source in Atlanta began using to describe the storm.  One Star Wars fan, Luke Thornton, even re-created the Battle on Hoth from Empire Strikes Back using his collection of action figures / vehicles (Creative Loafing & CNN coverage of Luke’s battle re-creation).  Another Atlantan, John Pruett Jr., wrote a post assigning some of the primary characters from the Star Wars movies if a Hothlanta version was filmed.

Photo courtesy of David Brown (pictured)

The only real negative over the course of the week came on Tuesday night when a SU3 (venue was locked so only SU3s could close or move it) decided to repeatedly close the venue about 20 times.  Myself and a few others kept trying to re-open the venue as folks around Atlanta were wanting to go for another Epic Swarm, but thanks to one user out there that would not be the case as the venue was shut down for most of the night.  This is a prime example of why Foursquare needs to implement change logs that are visible to SUs so that this person could have been identified.  This user was not acting in the fun spirit of the application nor in the community’s best interest and in my opinion needs to have their Super User access taken away.

Some may not agree with these temporary venues, but sometimes having a little fun is what these social applications are really about.  For those involved in the Twitter discussions during the build to Epic Swarm levels, Sunday night was an evening to remember and quite exciting to participate in.  Reading through the funny / useful tips and checking out all of the photographs over the course of the week showed exactly how the Foursquare application should and can be used.  The fact that this venue made the whole city go Star Wars crazy…well I can say that as a huge Star Wars fan myself…I couldn’t have been happier about it.

Post by: Chad Elkins – Find Chad on Twitter and Foursquare