There is an interesting social experiment coming up on Twitter and it is sponsored by the US government. On March 31st the Tag challenge game will start.
'Jewel thieves have stolen a prized diamond. Help find them. Win $5,000. Mugshots will be released on game day: March 31, 2012.
The infamous Panther Five has pulled an audacious new heist: they’ve stolen the world’s 3rd most expensive jewel, the Adly Diamond, from the Overholt Showroom in Washington, DC. Now they’ve split up and fled—dispersed to five different cities. We’re offering a reward to help find them'.
Government supportThe Tag Challenge is a social gaming competition which is sponsored by the US Department of State and the US Embassy in Prague. Participants are invited to find “suspects” in a simulated law enforcement search in five different cities throughout North America and Europe.
It uses crowdsourcing and collaboration at the heart of the challenge. The game can be played across all social channels. To start, you need to know who you will be chasing. According to the contest rules:
'A photograph or “mug shot” of each suspect will be posted to the contest website on the day of the event. Each suspect will be wearing a shirt bearing the event logo. The suspect’s face, dress, and the contest logo will be clearly visible in each of the mug shots.
Contestants may use only this photograph and any other information provided on the event website to identify each suspect.
The game revolves around building a network of spotters and teammates through social media in each of the five cities to try and track the suspects down.
In order to win, a participant or team must be the first to successfully locate and photograph all volunteer suspects—the nefarious and elusive “Panther Five”—and submit verifiable photographs to the contest organizers.'
Unless you plan to travel to all of these places in one day, then you will have to use your social network to collaborate and communicate.
'Tag Challenge is an 'independent, non-profit event, conducted in a spirit of fun and curiosity. The event was conceived and organized by a group of graduate students from six different countries, the outcome of a series of conferences on how social media could be used to improve transatlantic security'.
You can enter the competition from any country. However, if you win, you do need to be a US tax payer to actually get your prize paid.
International Crime spottersThe challenge, if socially successful, has implications for security organisations around the world. Imagine if you had the whole world looking for a fugitive. Their photograph could be widely published across social tools which were used to track location and share information.
If information about celebrities and news flows freely around the world, then why not information about fugitives?
Our 'good citizen' deeds can then extend much further than reuniting lost dogs with their owners, or passing on information about missing wedding rings and wallets. We could have the chance to help catch the bad guys.
Or with our tendency distrust of governments around the world, will we be reluctant to share any knowledge at all?
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