Catch 5 Jewel Thieves Using Social Media And Win $5,000

Do you plan to take the TAG Challenge in ten days? No, it isn’t a gimmick promoting a new body spray. And it isn’t another time-consuming app for your iPhone. It’s a social gaming competition where participants are tasked with using social media to get out in the real world and find and then photograph five fictional jewel thieves. The first team to accomplish this task wins $5,000. And chances are, the winning team will rely primarily on Twitter.

Why do I think that the winning team will use Twitter? Each of the jewel thieves will be found in five very different and very distant (from each other) locations, so assembling and working with a like-minded international team will be necessary – unless of course you plan to fly to Washington D.C, New York City, London, Stockholm and Bratislava during this contest’s fast-paced 12-hour span and find all of them yourself. Not possible unless you’re a time traveler.

Before you get too excited though, I must burst the bubble a bit. The goal of the game “is to determine whether and how social media can be used to accomplish a realistic, time-sensitive, international law enforcement goal.” But rest assured, although the game creators accepted funding from the U.S. State Department (among others), TAG Challenge is an “independent, nonprofit event, conducted in a spirit of fun and curiosity” and “is not associated with any law enforcement agency.” Ahem. After the initial uneasiness you’re feeling subsides, you’ll likely come to the same conclusion that I did: Game on!

There are clues on the site that narrow down the location for most of the thieves, but winning this challenge will require real-time #hashtag conversations with a multitude of peeps canvassing each location with the perp’s mugshot in hand. Sounds super-exciting to me! It’s likely a preview of future “games” to come, so at the very least it would probably make sense to pay attention. I know I will be!

So, are you considering it? If any teams want to allow me to (silently) observe their Twitteraction for a later story on how this whole thing goes down, that would be fantastic. Let me know please – and happy hunting!

(Binoculars image via Shutterstock)