There’s an interesting social experiment going on that involves a Twitter account, Starbucks mobile apps and a bit of web software development. The Twitter account is found here:
If you go there, you’ll see a series of mesages indicating money added to the Starbucks card account as well as when it is empty. During the period I watched the stream, it went zero several times in a single hour. It was also replenished in a single hour. So, what is going on there? The answer to that is on Jonathan Stark’s website for this odd little project:
Hi! I’m Jonathan Stark. You can download this picture of my Starbucks card to your phone and buy coffee at Starbucks with it. Seriously. My card gets charged, you don’t. Details are here.
If you’re feeling generous, you can also add money to my Starbucks card by doing this and enjoy some serious good karma.
You might guess that the card would simply go to zero once and then be unusable. And yet, that is not what is happending. Instead, it looks like people are refilling the card. Although the number is changing frequently, here’s what a snapshot of its activity looked like as of about 8pm Pacific Daylight Time on August 8, 2011.
Date started: July 20, 2011, 11:53:08 PDT
Number of times the card was used to buy something at Starbucks: 489
Number of times someone added funds to the card: 293
Amount added since the start of the experiment: $5,312.82
In the roughly 19 days this experiment has been going on, the card has been replenished at the rate of about $280 per day.