Here’s a brilliant new website, pledgebank. The idea’s simple. Make a pledge, any pledge, conditional on a number of other people joining in.
Pledges can be symmetrical (everyone does the same thing)…
"I will march on the White House in protest at X, if 1,000 people will join me."
"I will paint my car bright yellow, if 200 people in my city will pledge the same."
…or a-symmetrical (you offer more than you ask from others.)
"I will take $100,000 worth of sleeping bags to Pakistani earthquake victims if 5 people will join me to help distribute them…"
"I will host free pizza at 10pm on my street, if a minimum of 30 people pledge to show up."
You gotta love it when the Net creates the possibility of social interactions that can never have taken place before in history. Sites like this have the potential to create virtual communities that don’t just gossip online… they act. We’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible.
This site has been built on a shoestring with massive help from volunteers. It was launched in the UK a couple months ago, and is only now starting to roll out in the US. (Their US user registration is currently structured by county, so it recognizes ‘Manhattan’ not ‘New York’. They’re looking for someone to contribute a zip-code based database.)
I contacted Tom Steinberg, founder of Pledgebank, yesterday, and he said they currently have about 20,000 people signed up. In order for it to really take off in the US, he says it needs someone to come up with an eyepopping pledge that creates some buzz… Ideas, anyone?
I pledge to give $1000 to the person with the best eyepopping pledge idea offered here by the end of October, provided more than 5 people contribute an idea.
I’m serious. This thing’s worth supporting.