Ten red balloons and the depth of social networks

DARPA, the research arm of US military recently held a contest, they placed ten red weather balloons across the continental US. The contest, in part was a birthday celebration of the Internet, which just turned 40, set out to see how long it took people to find the balloons using social media. The winner got $40,000.

MIT Red Balloon Challenge Team won and spread the wealth far and wide to locate 10 red balloons in undisclosed locations across the country.

This challenge is all about studying how social networking can help solve big problems in a small amount of time.

Each 8-foot-wide balloon was raised over a publicly viewable location only during daylight hours on Saturday. More than 4,000 teams registered to participate in the hunt, and hundreds of reports were received. Many of those reports were incorrect because networkers created elaborate spoofs to mislead competitors — or simply play their own brand of mind game.

“The challenge has captured the imagination of people around the world, is rich with scientific intrigue, and, we hope, is part of a growing ‘renaissance of wonder’ throughout the nation” DARPA’s director, Regina Dugan.

Learn more on the Red Balloon Wiki

Thank you my little brother for finding this for me…