Eggpass was initiated by Rosanne Marshack and Richard Valentin for a final project in Social Computer Mediated Communication, a course in the Computer Science Department of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Inspired by discussions on the topic of social networks, Eggpass was designed as a method of tracing social networks which utilized the web's convenience.
It is hoped that through their extended travels, the eggs will reveal a surprising series of connections and will form a community of their own, very different from communities formed by typical means.
Stanley Milgram's work on the Small World Problem is an obvious precursor to this project. But while Milgram's studies involved sending a package to a specific recipient through personal connections in order to determine the links between two strangers, Eggpass is meant to be open-ended, it is our hope that the eggs will continue to be passed from friend to friend for an extended period of time, building up a complex web of relationships.
There are also similar online projects involving the release and tracking of objects such as: http://www.phototag.org (disposable cameras passed from user to user); http://www.bookcrossing.com/ (books left in public places for potential readers to discover); http://www.wheresgeorge.com/ (dollar bills tracked by serial number).
However, all of these projects involve transactions between strangers and have a tendency towards anonymity and limited response. We hope that by initiating a series of transactions through friends, participation will increase due to the “friend of a friend aura” similar to that of Friendster. There is also no additional effort involved besides the social exchange of instructions, no books to read, no purchases to be made. The risk of a dead ends are reduced because the transaction takes place between friends, there are no uncomfortable moments trying to convince a stranger to take an object from a stranger.