an easter egg for grassroot policy making

April 4, 2010

The laser chicken lays its first egg: Twitter is a fun way to tell my friends that my shoelace broke. Or for teenage girls in malls to inform their peeps about a good deal on strawberry lip-gloss at hot topic.  But I’d rather not mix these very private, possibly embarrassing facts with aspirations towards improving the community that i live in. Alongside downtownfarm want to create a systematic (and cute) portal where local people can toss around ideas for changing or adapting city and county policies when they do not serve their community  well. The clucking chicken – the more useful bird – gives citizens a “cutesy-ly annoying” voice to improve their communities. See a problem in your neighborhood, your school, your downtown, or your local parks? Don’t pluck us. Cluck us! You choose the “annoyance level”, then you “put a ring on it”, maybe you “just fix it” – temporarily or permanently, and then you get to brag about it. Dig it? Become a fan!

It’s like putting a yellow post-it note onto the place that needs fixing on Google Maps or Bing. You also get to choose the intenstity and the radius of your cluck. We (a) trust your judgment and (b) have the other birds keep you honest. We will also have “larger-than-live post-its” for less computer-savvy fowl that can digitized by some some local geek peeps. Eventually we’ll have Google Gogles like technology so you can “see” the digital post its in augmented reality style as you toddle by.

The idea is to do it like birds (and not like the bees):

  • normal clucking: After the third time you hit that new pothole on your street it’s probably time for some local clucking. I affects you and your 20 neighbors? Recommended annoyance: low. Recommended ring radius: 0.5 miles. Recommended fix: fill it with gravel.
  • excited clucking: When you laid an egg that is something to brag about. Maybe you spend all Saturday selling free range eggs at your local farmers market to send your peeps to camp. Come on. It’s okay to brag about it. Recommended annoyance: low. Recommended ring radius: 3 miles. Recommended fix: you already did it.
  • alarming cockadoodledoo: When you see someone trying to fly the coop. The barn is on fire. Or a raccoon is in the hen house. Recommended annoyance: Wake up the entire neighborhood. Recommended ring radius: 10 miles. Recommended fix: Poop attack.
  • scream of death: Phone is bugged. Predator drones in the sky. Farmer Martin is strapped to a hay bale and milk hoarding happens. Recommended annoyance: supersonic POOP. Recommended ring radius:  42 light years. Recommended fix: Hornet swarm attack. Laser chickens formation. Mother of all cluster slow bombs.
  • pecking order: You will be rated by your peers for your clucking. You be the rooster in the hen house if you cluck wisely with common sense. Or the hippest chick in town. But the bickering birds that annoy the whole farm and never fix anything: you will soon be the lamest duck in the barn yard. No-one will pay attention to your chatter, the tougher birds will give you a good pecking, and you’ll be first in line for plucking.

We invite in tea eagles. We invite in coffee pigeons. We invite weird birds, hot chicks, straight fowl, gay hawks. At our party everyone is welcome who likes passionate action and wants to fix stuff. We are The Farm Party and are Refarming America: