With any activity that involves a group of people, we want to know that enough others are participating for our contribution to make a difference. Once participation crosses that “tipping point,” people are more than happy to take action. So, on The Point, each user-generated campaign is only “activated” when the tipping point is reached.
The possible uses of The Point are limitless. Form an ultimatum against an unsatisfactory company. Raise money for a group purchase or charity. Broker an agreement between a group of people. Plan an event with your friends. Those are a few we’ve thought of, and you will think of many more. The Point facilitates any situation where people want to know that enough others are committed before they are willing to commit. Now you can know if your contribution will make a difference before you lift a finger or spend a dime.
To do this, The Point takes the notion of the tipping point—that point at which group action will produce a clear result and inevitable change—and applies it to organizing group efforts. Those who join a campaign pledge to take specific action—to boycott a company, for example, or donate funds toward a cause—but no one actually acts until the campaign reaches its preset tipping point, or number of pledged participants. When that point is reached, however, the action is triggered and participants make their donations, attend the event or boycott the organization. The Point can also be used to organize anonymously until a campaign builds to a level that provides safety in numbers and allows people to reveal their identities comfortably.
It’s a wonderfully cool idea. But you could end up on the wrong side of coolness. Hospitals could be affected in a number of ways: community benefit concerns, organizing providers, unhappy employees, disgusted patients…