by Kristen Malzone Last night, I got the chance to spend some time with the Live Off Groupon contest winner: Josh Stevens (@Groupawned). I learned a lot about the challenges he has faced so far and how he has utilized social media to overcome those challenges. We ate dinner at Oliva on the Lower East Side and discussed his journey thus far.
The Live Off Groupon campaign began as a challenge to see if anyone could live off Groupons for an entire year. Groupons are essentially discounted gift certificates to local businesses. After hundreds of applications and video submissions, Groupon selected Josh Stevens, a 28-year-old from Chicago, to spend 365 days surviving solely on an unlimited amount of Groupons. Groupon confiscated Josh's apartment, credit cards, and all of his personal belongings. They provided him with a paper-suit (made from Groupons), a laptop, an iPhone, a digital camera, a Flip cam, and health insurance. From there, Josh was challenged to travel the country to Groupon's 60 cities with Groupons as his only form of currency. This means that all purchases, from meals to activities to travel arrangements to hotel accommodations, must be paid for with Groupons. He may barter in exchange for goods and services that are not available with Groupons, such as leaving a tip at a restaurant. If Josh successfully completes this year-long challenge, he will be awarded $100,000 (in cash).
Josh blogs, tweets, and posts on Facebook as he travels across the country. He has been networking with social media users to find things to do and places to stay as he goes. It may seem a little risky, but overall he has been really enjoying the experience while making lots of new friends. This campaign truly shows the power of networking on social media. It's arguable that Josh would not be able to survive solely on Groupons for a year without social media. What do you think? Could you do it?
Josh was interviewed this morning on the TODAY show with Kathie Lee and Hoda. Check it out...