About this iReport
  • Approved for CNN

  • Click to view mitballoon's profile
    Posted December 4, 2009 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Breaking news: Share your story

    MIT Red Balloon Challenge: win money, help science, help charity!


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     mitballoon is one of many teams searching Saturday for one of 10 red weather balloons placed at undisclosed locations by DARPA. The project is designed to test the power of social networks. The first team to log the longitute and latitude of all 10 balloons wins $40,000. -AnnieHLN

    As you might have heard, DARPA has announced a network challenge in the vein of the DARPA grand challenge.


    In this challenge, participants are tasked with finding 10 red weather balloons distributed throughout the continental US for 8 hours on December 5th. The idea is to get this to be a crowdsourcing kind of activity, where people will use social media tools to solve this problem.


    Q: But how can I win?  There is NO WAY I will find a balloon.


    A: MIT has set up a system that allows you to win even if you don't find a balloon.  Here's how it works:  You might not find a balloon, but maybe one of the people you invite (or one of the people they invite (or one of the people they invite and so on...)) will spot a balloon.  If this happens you and everyone else in the chain wins. Here's an image showing how it works:





    To participate, sign up (username and email) here: http://balloon.mit.edu/ireport/


    Signing up will create an invitation link like "http://balloon.mit.edu/yournamehere/"


    Share this with your friends.  If they, or anyone they sign up with their invitation link (and so on...) find a balloon, everyone in the chain will win a portion of the money.


    After signing up, you will be able to track your "impact" in real time with a link that will be sent to you when you sign up.  This will show you how many people you've been able to influence, both directly and indirectly.


    While our team is interested in winning the contest, we are also interested in studying information diffusion in social networks. Does Twitter spread information faster than blogs? How many people on your Twitter account or blog are influenced by you?


    Any money not awarded as prizes will be donated to charity.


    So what are you waiting for?  Sign up at http://balloon.mit.edu/ireport/ and Win money, help science, and help charity!

    Add your Story Add your Story