While researching a prior post, I came across something which was rather interesting as a potential “viral” measurement tool. The site is www.wheresgeorge.com and allows for the logging and tracking of paper currency, specifically one ($1) dollar bills. Here a person can take a bill and register it with the site via its serial number and then mark (the bill) with the URL of the site*. After being released in the “wild”, as people receive the money and (hopefully) notice the “mark” on the bill, they report the whereabouts of the bill, along with the general means of acquisition or exchange and the condition.
Talk about understanding social inter-connectedness, as what a better way than via following the money! Yes those out there that know me well, also know that this is one of my favorite “Joe-isms” (Follow the Money!) and what better to understand the social beast then to track its most prized possession, money.
As your browser is parked on the site, you will receive a live feed of the recent posts as they come into the database (on the right side of the window). In a strange fashion it’s addictive to watch in a way, it creates a primitive voyeuristic feeling much like someone making Facebook ™ post about your ex-girl friend or spouse. However as I watched the replies stream on to the screen as I’ve taken to bookmark this site on my iPad as a lazy mans version of angry birds. A strange anomaly appeared to me in that people did not refer to the money in gender as is a common trait with other thing which money buys (car, boats, etc).
For example, there weren’t any posts which said things like “found her in good condition“, or “she still looks in good shape“. Therefore why do we Americans view our money as an asexual entity? Also its interesting to see where the bill was acquired from as in my stints of watching, it appears that 80 percent of the time possession comes the making of change. The remaining 20 percent of my non scientific survey showed gifting second (by the way for uniformity, placement in a G-String at a strip club was classified as gifting and yes there were a number of posts to this affect :-). Following thirdly in that 20 percent too were winnings, from things like fantasy football, bingo, etc.
All very interesting as I also wrote to wheresgeroge.com to suggest an iApp that would notify a user when there’s been a posting regarding their registered currency. Also, they could add a streaming function for the comments all registered currency that comes in as mentioned above it’s interesting (sociologically of course) to watch.
As discussed in prior posts regarding data mining of social networks, this would be yet another gold mine of opportunity to better understand the human machine.
*Note: Note keep in mind that marking a bill is considered defacing so in a way wheresgeorge.com is straddling the line between art and anarchy. Second, as a side bar, adding markings to currency as an advertisement (for commercial gain) is illegal and the Secret Service doesn’t consider this in the same light as what wheresgeorge.com is doing as a social experiment.