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Sunday, December 6, 2009

99 Luft balloons: well, only ten...

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers beat out five hundred of their closest competitors and correctly identified the location of ten red balloons released in select areas around the country.

Using the MIT website, text message advertising and other social media tools, the researchers received input from over 4,000 volunteers to accurately pinpoint the location of the cheery globules. The project was an exercise in determining the speed, accuracy and reliability of information culled from social media. In addition, the feasibility of using alternate communication in national emergencies or during situations such as Amber Alerts or interstate kidnappings was probed.

The researchers, basically were glad of the opportunity to use their skills to prove their work, which reflects on themes of social media in society. They plan to divide the money amongst charities and the top spotters.

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