Big Brother 1984 – Just took a Couple of Decades to Reach!

Written by on January 15th, 2010

FBI, Electronic billboards, Social Media & MORE “wisdom of the crowds”

The FBI is at the beginning phases of using social media and the “wisdom of the crowds” to solve crime.

I was working out today and watched as the FBI unveiled a new crime fighting strategy.  They unveiled on Time’s Square a massive electronic billboard that will list America’s most wanted!

NBC did a great job covering the story and providing additional background to show how their strategy emerged.  It appears they picked up on the Amber alert technique and started working with Clear Channel and other electronic billboard companies to post information about wanted criminals.   The program proved effective for them when they posted an image of a South Carolina bank robber that led to his identification.  They then posted his name and information which led to his arrest.

So let’s fast forward this and go “back to the future”

In my book, Engage Customers Online I shared a story how the car company – Mini Cooper used RFID to communicate with Mini Cooper owners through select billboards.  (They called Motorboards).  Mini owners that were interested completed an online profile and were then sent a “key fob”.   When the driver came within range of a Motorboard, the LED readout on the Motorboard displayed a customized, often humorous message that related to the owner’s profession, name, or roof design. Examples: “Nice roof graphic, Rocket!” to an owner with a car nicknamed Rocket, or “Moving at the speed of justice!” to a lawyer.  That was about 3 years ago!

Fast forward to today and imagine that you are driving past a billboard that is using Facebook Connect and RFID.  As you approach it, it instantly taps into your social network to see if you are in some way connected to one of America’s most wanted (or anyone wanted for that matter.  It might include child support payments, parking tickets outstanding – who knows where it will stop)

If it finds you are connected in some way, the billboard or an electronic dashboard system  instantly (says or posts)  “Don, George Lucas is wanted for making science fiction movies,  you are connected to him by Angie Dickinson.  We’re dropping an alert in your News Feed to let us know any tips you may have that will bring him in safely.”

This automated system would feed tips back to the control center where they are instantly validated and checked out.

All of us are trying to figure out how to play and use Social Media for our businesses.  There are good and bad signs we need to be paying attention to as we move along.  Those that are living “The Truman Show” on Facebook, need to rethink what they are doing.  And, those responsible for creating strategies, need to keep in mind basic civil liberties and privacy norms.

It’s an exciting time to be involved in Social Media.   You need to help shape it for the good of your organization and your customers.

Be Sociable, Share!

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.