In the second class of The Barn (the first having made Dating Brian), the brief had been altruistically altered to “Do something good, famously.” With a crack team of three interns and a little spice from elsewhere, Underheard in New York was born.
Starting as wanting to do something for the homeless population of NYC, the idea focused itself on giving them a voice—and what’s better for giving a normally ignored population a voice? The web. But, with no homes, these disenfranchised citizens have no computers, so it was decided—with prepaid cell phones, they would be able to tweet their experiences, reaching a mass audience. That is, if there were people willing to listen.
Listen they did: over 15,000 total people followed the four chosen for the project in just three weeks.
But more importantly (for the brief, and for mankind), there was measurable success for the four Underheard: a job offer, a paid transit fine, and even the reunion of one and his daughter. Not to mention the thousands of tweets of support that poured in.