Written by Gary Lee, TTE creator
TenThousandEyes.org is a lost pet reuniting strategy which combines, equally, the power of technology and the power of The (pet loving) People of the Monadnock region. TTE was created in partnership between a private donor and MHS.
There is power in numbers, you’ve heard it before. Large sums of people banding together to do a deed not possible by the few. But it isn’t just a numbers game, any goal-oriented effort needs coordination in the form of a leader or a tool to funnel a disparate group energy into a game-changing focus.
I recently watched a Buzzfeed video on Facebook where a small crowd of people were trying to figure out how many of them —men and women mixed— it would take to lift a 2700 pound automobile completely off the ground. They started, comically, with just one person and added others after each failed attempt. At nineteen, two tires had remained touching the pavement and so they added four more bodies to the team. They failed again. Did they lack the muscle? Nope. Their effort was, simply, uncoordinated. One of the Buzzfeed team observed that they were not lifting at the same time, meaning not at exactly the same time. He instructed the lifters to listen more carefully to the 1,2,3 count and to focus their maximum effort specifically on the word “three” instead of on the beat that followed. They practiced their timing several times without lifting and then tried once more. This time all four tires lifted a couple inches off the ground for several seconds.
What made the difference in this example is what we can call collective power, the summing of each individual’s strength at the exact moment when it is needed, versus the distributed power of a full-strength, yet offset, lift effort where the maximum force is never great enough for success. Here we see that the brute force of big numbers is important but so is a groups’ concerted effort. Social revolutions happen in this way.
Whether they succeed or fail can be a matter of a groups’ power being that of the collective or of the more distributed, hence dissipated, nature.
At MHS, using the TTE website and database, we want to experiment with a related phenomenon in an effort to reunite lost pets and their families. There are two main components to this model:
Like lifting the car, we first need enough TTE Micro-Vols to provide the overall brute force of so many informed eyes looking out for lost animals and their quick action if it is needed. Timing is crucial because the length of time that a pet is wandering has an alarming effect on its ever being recovered. After only five days away from home, the chance on a cat being reunited is less than half what it was after the second day. A
dog’s chance is a little better.
Our volunteers agree to receive an email from us —no more than 1 in a single day— announcing all pets lost in the last twenty four hours and their last known location. A link in the email leads to the lost animal’s photo and other critical information needed to identify the wayfarer. Also, each pet’s post contains a link to contact the owner directly or to contact MHS. Once a “spotter” connects with a likely owner by email, the two may continue to correspond, trading updates. All volunteers receive the email alert at the same time, —the 1, 2, 3 count— are asked to look at the post(s) and, as they go about their daily routine, to maintain a heightened level of awareness about these lost animals. As a volunteer, your role can be as active as you want it to be: Paste the missing pet information into your social media page. Click the share link on the Missing Pet info card to forward an email to a friend. Take a walk in an area where one of these pets has been reported missing —bring your smartphone for a positive id check if you do— Of course, even non-members can check tenthousandeyes.org at any time, though they won’t receive those friendly email nudges from TTE.
The Numbers Mission:
With the organizing technology in place, our aim now is to increase the number of our Micro-Vols from 400 to 5000 within the next 2 years. And to keep going from there.
What You Can Do to Participate:
Donate your eyes by joining the MHS/TTE Micro-Vols, take a healthy walk now and then while keeping your eyes peeled. See what happens!
Note: This is something you will feel good about, it isn’t hard work, and it is a certified MHS social-distance activity. It takes only about a minute or so to sign up at tenthousandeyes.org and, we promise, you’ll have all available missing pet alerts on your device early in the day, to browse while savoring that first cup of morning coffee. Mmmm