DOWNTOWN — Faced with the smooth mirrored surface of the Bean in Millennium Park, few visitors are able to resist the urge to whip out a smart phone and snap a selfie.
West Loop-based Walker Sands Digital decided those selfies should have a home. So this week they unveiled "Seen @ the Bean," a website dedicated solely to the Downtown "Cloud Gate" sculpture and the snaps captured by its visitors.
"For one landmark, it’s amazing to see how many different ways people think to take their photos," said Kim Lucio, an interactive marketing manager at Walker Sands Digital.
Seen @ the Bean auto-populates a rotating display of photos from social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram that mention "the Bean," "Cloud Gate" and other key words.
Lucio said the idea came up during a weekly Friday brainstorming session after "discussing Chicago tourism sites, and how many don't truly sell what an exciting experience it is to visit Chicago."
"We started to think of ways we could improve the Cloud Gate website, and we wanted to do these three things: Showcase the people that visited the location, share the history of the landmark, and put a map with the exact location for tourists to easily find the location," Lucio said.
Their intentions weren't purely philanthropic — the site also serves a practical purpose for the digital services company. A note at the bottom of the page next to a staff photo teases to potential customers that the Walker Sands Digital can make an equally "memorable web experience" for future clients.
For the most part, though, Lucio said the site's creation was a creative exercise for the team. If users get something positive out of it, that's a happy bonus.
"Our goal is that people use the hashtag #SeenattheBean or tag a photo there, and come to our site to see it and other’s photos at the Bean," she said. "In the end, it was a fun and creative project that got us thinking differently, which for us was a huge win in itself."
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