Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check h Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check him out on Google+.
Can man live on social media alone? A tough question, and one that we sought to answer last year with our fictional character Jack, a true social media geek. But now a cross-city social experiment is seeking to answer this question for real.
Constituting part of Social Media Week, Can Man Live on Social Media Alone? will try to discover whether two intrepid travelers can depend on nothing but the goodwill of locals, a smartphone and social media, to survive in a foreign city for one week.
From 9–15 February 2012, Daphne and Martin will trade cities, power up their social media channels and, well, see what happens.
Meet Daphne and Martin
Daphne is a twenty-something Singaporean with a passion for food and travel, and she’ll be putting her fate in the hands of Londoners, whilst Martin is a “young geek” who works for a London-based social media agency and will be relying on the kindness of Singaporean strangers.
Armed with the clothes on their back and a Nokia Lumia 800 (yup, this social experiment is sponsored…), Daphne and Martin can bring ten items in a backpack as part of their ‘survival kit’.
In addition to having to secure food and accommodation each day, the candidates will be issued daily tasks. How will they learn of these tasks? They’ll be posted on their Facebook walls, of course. The tasks will be charitable in nature and will help raise awareness on specific causes within their respective cities.
“I’ve climbed an active volcano in Indonesia, taken a 36-hour train ride across the Tibetan Plateau in seater-class, and lived in random strangers’ houses while Couchsurfing in various countries,” says Daphne. “However, nothing quite beats this social experiment where I’ll be given practically nothing and will have to get by purely on the goodwill of others. I think the beauty of it is that the goodwill runs both ways in this experiment – as through the daily tasks, I will be helping to raise awareness for various social causes. So I do hope that people will chip in to help me get through it!”
The culmination of the experiment will see Daphne and Martin make an appearance at a Social Media Week event in their host city, where they will share their experiences with attendees.
“I’m the kind of guy who is the happiest in the world when on a “crisis” situation, when you don’t have the time to rely on your daily comfort, and have to trust your instincts and the quick understanding of a situation to make the best of it,” adds Martin. “I also love to be useful for people around me, to give a hand, and to put my energy to problem-solving. This social media experiment is obviously a good way to “augment” these two features and to make personal and collective discoveries.”
Last September, we reported on a similar social experiment, when Bambuser’s Executive Chairman live-streamed a 24-hour journey through London…guided entirely by the public. He followed this promotional stunt up a month later with a similar experiment in New York.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking to keep tabs on what Daphne and Martin are up to, here are their vital (social) statistics:
Daphne: facebook.com/CanManSG, @deafknee #CanManSG #smwsg
Martin: facebook.com/CanManLondon, @SMWLoveMessengr, #CanManLondon
You can monitor all our coverage from Social Media Week here.
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