Facebook is certainly changing the world, even if you don’t accidentally invite that entire world to your birthday party. Terror alerts will be shared from Homeland Security across the social network, and President Obama has already held a town hall conference through Facebook. These are far from the only examples of the impact Facebook has had on our lives. A group of students in Newcastle are taking a much more immediate approach. Hooking up a 3G camera phone up to their trash can, the college students are beaming pictures of their refuse directly to Facebook.
Everything the students toss in the trash is captured in photographic perpetuity on Facebook. Those pictures are then evaluated by peers in an environmental challenge. If any trash could have been recycled, the students lose points. Competing households track one another’s scores in a constant league competition, opening themselves up to green ridicule. Each household uses a tree symbol as a representation of their score; the less recycling is in the trash, the better the tree grows. Students can even accrue gold bars for saving money by not throwing away wasted food.
Right now, there are only four households taking part in the experiment. Only the students involved in the experiment can see the scores. The students leave comments for one another, and researchers believe that the negative reinforcement of public scrutiny and ridicule play a role in the project’s success. “The experiment has made us really aware of what we’re doing,” said Helen Mamalaki, one of the students.
[Image credit: larsjuh]
Editor’s Note: This story is a cross post from our friends over at Tecca. Author credit from Tecca goes to Michael Gray. Curious about more? Read more from Tecca – Solar power handbag makes an eco statement