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Local game of hide and seek adapted for Twitter

Courtesy of Jennifer Sadler

The treasure hunt begins on May 17, so have Twitter open and running shoes ready.

A game of hide-and-seek will begin next month when art tiles with promotional coupons will be placed throughout Columbus in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Columbus Arts Festival this June.

Once each 4-inch-by-4-inch tile is hidden, a picture of the location will be uploaded to Twitter for followers to find. A coupon is attached to the back of each piece, offering discounts at local restaurants and vendors.

The game, named “Tweet and Go Seek,” will be held from May 17 to June 5 with 250 to 300 tiles distributed.

Matthew Barnes, an Ohio State graduate and the man behind “Tweet and Go Seek,” said the game gives people a chance to explore the city.

“You get familiar with your city, and you get to save money. You get to engage and have fun and play a little game that not everybody’s playing,” he said.

However, the tiles don’t stay in one place for very long.

“It goes fast. People jump on it as quick as I leave it out. It’s not there for more than, I think, 20 minutes,” Barnes said.

Jacob Taylor, a second-year in environmental policy, will be helping Barnes distribute the art pieces for the first time during the upcoming “Tweet and Go Seek” event.

Taylor first met Barnes through the Social Media Society at Ohio State, a group focused on learning how to use social media both personally and professionally.

“Honestly, it’s really fun. It’s a great way to explore the city and find great discounts and offers to local restaurant and companies,” Taylor said. “Plus you get to keep the piece.”

Taylor said that Barnes creates each art piece himself, using pictures, newspapers, magazines and more to create designs on each.

“People just really enjoy playing the game. It’s totally unique, and it’s something I’ve never seen done before,” Taylor said. “People enjoy finding the pieces a little more than … actually finding the coupon.”

Kaila Dafforn, a second-year in molecular genetics, said she would follow Tweet and Go Seek, and it seemed similar to geocaching, a treasure hunt where people from around the globe use GPS devices to seek out hidden containers filled with items, called “geocaches.”

“I feel like at campus, we just know Ohio State,” she said. “We don’t really know the Short North or the city, so it would be fun if there was stuff down there just to get a view.”

Barnes started using the 4-by-4 tiles in Miami Beach, distributing the pieces randomly throughout the city and posting pictures of their locations on Twitter.

“I have always been interested in different aspects of photography, in particular phone photography. Just because of the mobile aspect of it (and) the immediacy of it,” he said.

After returning to Columbus in 2010, Barnes said he had the idea to include promotional coupons on the back of each tile, so he began his first campaign with Elizabeth Lessner at Betty’s Fine Food and Spirits.

Barnes said he thought to himself, “You know what? I should hook up with a local brand and add a value to this so that it makes it more valuable than just a collectible.”

With an 85 percent return rate, Barnes continued to place tiles around the city for events like the Columbus Arts Festival and ComFest in the Short North.

Normally, Barnes places art tiles every few months to create buildup and prevent followers from becoming complacent. 

“You’ve got 10 days to be following it, then it will be gone for another three months,” he said. “It makes it less of a commodity and more of something you chase after.”

Learn more about the upcoming event at www.tweetandgoseek.com and follow the game on Twitter @tweetandgoseek.

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