Lions International

Serve the public trust

Earlier this month the Mayor of Detroit, Dave Bing, used the social media service Twitter to canvas ideas for reviving the US city.

Among the suggestions sent to Mayor Bing was a ‘tweet’ from user MT that as, Philadelphia has a statue of Rocky, Detroit should consider a statue of Robocop, titular character from the 1987 film known for its violence, black comedy and vision of a future where the police force has been privatised.

Mayor Bing ‘tweeted’ back that “There are not any plans to erect a statue to Robocop” and thanked them for the suggestion. However, the idea proved to be very popular and a statue of Robocop standing in Detroit looks likely to become a permanent fixture.

As of 2pm on Monday 28 February, 2442 people have contributed nearly $63,000 toward constructing the statue, which was expected to cost $50,000.

This is one example of the ‘crowdsourcing’ trend first identified by Wired journalist Jeff Howe in 2006. The crowds are typically online communities who pool skills and resources to reach a common goal. Wikipedia is one example of a crowdsourced project, an online encyclopaedia that is the result of volunteer editors and contributors.

A critical part of developing a crowd ready to support Robocop was the response of John Leonard who, upon learning of Mayor Bing’s decision, created a Facebook group that galvanised support. From here a profile was created on Kickstarter, a website which solicits funds for crowdsourced projects.

Kickstarter’s website describes their service as “A new form of commerce and patronage”:

This is not about investment or lending. Project creators keep 100% ownership and control over their work. Instead, they offer products and experiences that are unique to each project...

Projects are big and small, serious and whimsical, traditional and experimental. They’re inspiring, entertaining and unbelievably diverse.

It’s somewhat ironic that a film about a privatised police force should have a role in a community-led plan, yet as social media websites like Facebook and Twitter have recently played starring roles in changing governments, perhaps a statue of Robocop could be much more than a pet project for a bunch of geeks?

An alternate view of the so-called ‘wisdom of the crowd’ is that groups of people seem to be easily swayed by novelty, for example the US city of Austin’s decision to put the name for their new Solid Waste Services Department to a popular vote. Based on current polling, it looks like it will be named the Fred Durst Society of the Humanities and Arts!

The heart of the Riverina

Not Another Bank?

Recently an Australian bank has been promoting itself as unlike other Australian banks.

Personally I can't understand how they're Not Another Bank but at one point I thought it was worth having an account with them and I haven't closed it yet. Anyway, this week I undertook a survey on their website and was surprised by the third question here:

"Much more fuss is being made about air and water pollution than is really justified"

Are they evaluating whether there's an advantage in portraying themselves as green?


I gave way

I gave way to a train while riding my bike this week. It's not particularly amazing news but I thought it was cool.

Yeah, the photo is kinda ordinary but I was riding my bike at the time.

The grass is always greener

For some reason the Facebook profile I set up for work gets more saucy friend requests than the one I actually use.

WTF Google News?


This board changes you.

You can become light more stylish than whom.

Everyone accepts this fact.

You will also challenge early.