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Featured on Jan 26, 2011

Nina Yiamsamatha

"Be brilliant."


I'm the Community Support Coordinator at foursquare and I thrive when interacting with and helping people. I graduated from NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study almost exactly one year ago, where I designed a concentration in "New Media & Re-imagining Communities" (Benedict Anderson, anyone?). Overall, I'm a big fan of french fries, fancy cocktails, karaoke, and my kitten.

  • Title: Community Support Coordinator at foursquare
  • Age: 22
  • Location: East Village
  • Contact: @ninanyc

Can you quickly walk us through a day in the life of a Community Support Coordinator at foursquare?

Let’s see – I get in to the office, check in, make an extra strong cup of coffee with our super handy coffee machine and grab a peach Chobani yogurt, and sit down to go through my email. By 11 o’clock or so, I begin digging into CoTweet and tweeting users who have asked questions or need help from our @4sqsupport account. The afternoon is an amalgam of emailing and tweeting, communicating with our awesome Superusers, responding to tickets, managing venue edit queues, and pinging our engineers with questions or user feedback. Of course, no two days are exactly alike since you never know what’ll pop up, but I just try to roll with the punches and GSD (office lingo for Get “Stuff” Done).

You talk about your experience growing up Thai in America and you’ve recently been inspired to start eating Thai food again, though with a different American spin on it.  Current favorite Thai dish?

I was born in New Jersey but spoke Thai as my first language (I had to communicate with my preschool teachers by patting my stomach when I was hungry.) Speaking of food, I’ve always had a bit of disdain for eating Thai food that wasn’t made by my mom (hi, Mom!) and have probably gone out for Thai less than 10 times in 5 years in NYC. I recently reconsidered after reading about Kin Shop, a new restaurant in the West Village that doesn’t purport to make Americanized (read: sugary noodles) Thai food but rather makes American food with strong Thai flavors and influences (kin, or “gihn,” means “eat” in Thai). Every once in a while I still have a craving for Thai noodles (usually when I’m sad or missing home), in which case I absolutely LOVE Pad See Ew (Black Noodle) or Pad Kee Mao (Drunken Noodles).

While checking out the foursquare HQ foursquare page, we noticed that you are the Mayor and that the last tip left mentions that the small fridge there is chock-full of Four Loko. Is this still true? Preferred flavor? Fanciest cocktail you’d like to try to make with Four Loko as an ingredient?

Truth. The fridge is now diversified with beer and other classy beverages, though. I don’t actively drink Four Loko but I guess, if forced, that I would choose Cranberry Lemonade. I wouldn’t make a Four Loko cocktail but I did name my adopted kitten, Valentina, after a delicious beer cocktail I ordered at Death & Co (muddled raspberries, tequila, grapefruit and lime juices, and wheat beer, yum).

How did you come to the conclusion that a concentration in “New Media & Re-imagining Communities” was right for you?

It wasn’t so much a conclusion as it was a series of epiphanies. I’ve always had a core interest in people and how they communicate, form identities, and consume/produce culture, so I went into college assuming I’d end up in advertising (I was a part of JWT's Emerging Media department before this job!). It all began in 2008, though - while procrastinating on my paper on the representation of Hillary Clinton in the media, I clicked on a Facebook ad for what turned out to be an internship at Undercurrent, an awesome digital think tank in SoHo that introduced me to all things digital media. That year, I immersed myself in online communities and outreach, signed up for Twitter, got made fun of for giving a class presentation about Twitter, and here I am now. I spent the rest of my college career applying the Internet and new media to cultural anthropology and other seminal works such as Anderson’s Imagined Communities, Lippmann’s Public Opinion, McLuhan’s The Medium is the Message, and so on. I could - and have - written many papers on these topics, haha.

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