Pink Card Experiment

As you come through the gate at this year’s Burning Man event, along with the What Where When, Tip Sheet and map, you’ll get something new from the Greeters – a little pink postcard that’s part of an interactive, social-digital-anthropological experiment we’re about to embark upon.

There is space on the card for you to fill out your name, email, Twitter account, whether you’re male or female, and your zip code or country. That’s it.
You can drop it off at several locations around the playa.

Pretty easy, right?

But why? And what’s up? Simply put, there has never been much of a reason or motivation to attempt to identify who attended the event until now. We all know what a strong and dynamic community of artists, performers, makers, and Burners has grown up on the playa. Until now, the social connectivity that’s accompanied that growth has been completely organic.

With this Pink Post Card project we want to gather information to help map the Burning Man future on and off the playa, and cultivate our culture. We’re asking you to opt-in to the project because you enjoy the event and want to help shape its future and that which is beyond Black Rock City.

Burning Man is constantly evolving and adapting. But recently we have encountered renewed challenges, and in response we need to improve our network of relationships and to (among other things) allow the people familiar with the experience and values to connect around important issues.

Though we have collected information in the past as part of the ticket purchase process, the BRC Census, or for the distribution of the Jack Rabbit Speaks, those mechanisms don’t reflect the “now” of actually being on the playa as a collective experience for a moment in time. It’s important to point out that we’ve always been vigilant about respecting personal information as it was shared in the intended context at that time. We will continue to maintain the same level of protection and confidentiality as we have for 15 years for all information shared with us. We won’t share your information unless you choose to do so.

What will the Pink Postcard data be used for? Honestly, we’re not sure yet. This is an experiment! A radical self-reliant and expressive civic experiment. We’re trying out some new ideas and trying to solve some complex issues. We suspect that one of the first steps towards doing so is related to gaining a better understanding of who actually attends the event and the related existing connectivity. Fertility 2.0 is the seed. And so are you. We hope you’ll join us.

You’ll find Pink Collection Boxes at Center Camp, PlayaInfo, BRC
Census and at the 3 and 9 o’clock Ranger Outposts. We’ll even gift you a
sticker in appreciation of your participation if you come to the Census Camp near the Cafe!

The back of the card is blank, so feel free to use it for comments, a funny picture… whatever you like about Burning Man, how it goes this year, your favorite experience or your thoughts on BRC’s future. We won’t be able to respond, but we will read all of them!

This post card isn’t your best feedback tool, though, so if you do actually want to provide formalized feedback to the Burning Man organization, feel free to use the Feedback Loop ( listed in September on the Burning Man homepage. It will be enabled after the Man burns.

Oh, and why paper and not technology? Because we can, and it just seemed worthy of our cultural approach around immediacy! Be Here Now!

So, do you like pink?

About the author: Marian Goodell

Marian Goodell

Marian serves as Burning Man Project’s first Chief Executive Officer. She first attended Burning Man in 1995, met Larry and the other organizers in the fall of 1996, and in 1997 helped found the contemporary Burning Man organization. In previous roles, she was the Director of Business and Communications, briefly oversaw the Black Rock City Department of Public Works, and steered the development of the Burning Man Regional Network, which is now on six continents, with more than 300 representatives in 37 countries. Marian is currently leading the organization’s efforts to facilitate and extend the Burning Man ethos globally.

35 Comments on “Pink Card Experiment

  • Ryan says:

    Are openings for the DPW facebook crew next year? I heard that we’re going to be working to make sure that all the art has “like” buttons on it that link back into burningman’s facebook page so that we can track who is viewing what and when.

    Oh, and is Real World: Black Rock City still going to get their “Crow’s Nest” house inside of the man for next year?

    That should be pretty cool, and will be an awesome opportunity to bush the “Burning Man You”, and “Black Rock Outdoor” brands to a new audience.

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  • Vinny says:

    +1 on Ryan’s comment.

    I go out to the playa to get away for a week. I was extremely disappointed when the burn started to be streamed live. I always thought it was something for those to experience out on the playa. Not anymore.

    And now to collect “social” information on all block rock citizens? Really? I understand its optional, I just disagree with this direction.

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  • JV says:

    Technology has always been a part of Burning Man, and social media is just another technological tool. While I do appreciate how we used to be able to go off the grid on the playa, I also don’t think Burning Man should try to avoid societal trends. In my opinion, it should use them in interesting ways. For this reason, I think this experiment could be interesting. I’ll probably fill out a card.

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  • Liean says:

    The card concept is a cool idea, but paper is a thing of the past. There are much more efficient ways to collect data to serve the community. If there was a special station under than man that you could only reach if via a retinal scan device, that data could be retained.

    I would line up for that. Imagine – it could have a very cool bar and the best view of BRC with the coolest people.

    If that’s too much tech, then perhaps each person in line could swipe a swab their cheek and their DNA could be preserved. Then BMorg would know who the loyal burners are, and offer special incentives and discounts for those with their DNA stored in the database.

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  • Tanner says:


    “Black Rock Outdoor”, interesting. Is that where I can buy the elusive fur-lined utilikilt? It would be great if we were able to have some kind of Burning Man Wish List, because I don’t always have time to go out and find that perfect costume that says, Burner.

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  • Ryan says:

    Tanner: I think you’re looking more for the Burning Man Me line.

    Burning Man Me ensures that you will look EXACTLY like a burner! Don’t let yourself be a fashion faux pas while on the playa!

    Black Rock Outdoor is catered more to those who live an uncompromisingly rugged lifestyle. Inspired by the fashion of the Burning Man Department of Public Works, Black Rock Outdoor blends high fashion, with high utility!

    Stop by our outlet in center camp to try on a vest, and peruse our assortment of burning man patches! On your way out, don’t forget to stop by the cafe for a hand crafted “dusty” latte! It’s the fuel that fuels the burning man inside of you!

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  • Peace says:

    Comodification sucks…cynicism sucks worse. Why don’t we go contribute to a great burn and leave the bitching and complaining for October.

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  • Tanner says:

    Thank you, Ryan for helping me to better understand my Burning Man fashion needs. As you can understand, looking fabulous on the playa can be the difference between having incredible sex with many strange women, or just hanging yourself to death.

    Burning Man Me sounds perfect! I don’t want to look like a doofus, and at the same time I don’t want to look like I’m trying not to be doofus, like those DPW guys.

    I think the vest thing is going to be big this year, but I hear top hats are out. I can’t wait to visit the outlet so I can select my special identity.

    BTW, I’m really hoping you can offer wide selection of Burning Man icon necklaces so people will think they were gifted to me.

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  • Pink says:

    Enough of the crap. I will answer Marian’s question: yes I like pink!

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  • william says:

    If the pink moop handout is not a sign of something having dissapeared im not sure what is. However, having met fellow californians while hiking the swiss alps i would say you really cant ever get away and the harder you try the worse it gets. I guess that means this year im going to just wear jeans shorts and a that guy t shirt.

    Thank god i built multiple kites of different sizes with lights on them ill just go deep playa and fly until i am consumed by the dust gods cant wait to see you there pink sucks im sorry.

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  • James 3 says:

    im down with info collection and will fill out the card. but me and my girl, definitely NOT fans of pink. red/black/white on the other hand…we got that in spades.

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  • Ray says:

    Don’t like pink. Not a good color, but that is of course, just my opinion. I will fill out de card tho.

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  • toby says:

    pink is the color associated with emasculation, which is fitting for burning man. masculinity is severely frowned upon because all men are predators and potential rapists.

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  • Peaches says:

    Weird. I don’t like the paper idea, paper will end up as MOOP. I also like the idea of being more anonymous, AKA playa name, some of us can’t express ourselves in the “real world” as we do at Burning Man unfortunate but true. I don’t really want anyone tracking my twitter or my name or anything else that I haven’t given to them personally. If I want to keep in touch about Burning Man I always find ways to locate this information without being asked a survey. Thanks but no thanks.

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  • CULT says:

    i love pink!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • HK says:

    Of course you could be getting ready for another ticket debacle next year…
    So not a bad idea.
    (unless you plan to go with a professional ticketing outfit)

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  • Hannah says:

    I don’t have a Twitter, but curiosity and wanting to be in the loop might make me create an account just for this… but it’s weird to me that Burning Man of all places would cause me to make one.

    Why Twitter?

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  • rakshi says:

    What next? Survey Monkey?

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  • Marian says:

    Twitter account is not necessary, just optional. Some peeps on the web team suggested it be included. So, why not!

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  • mikey says:

    paper is cool, and its not moop if you dont let it hit the ground. good luck picking a color EVERYONE likes, pink is fine. and the info? the whole world can know im a burner and that would suit me just fine. not many things i am proud of, but trying to live the burning life is one of them.

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  • cryptic says:

    I don’t really see how much info this gives you that you wouldn’t otherwise have, but ill play along. Its certainly a lot easier than filling out the census, which took me around 45 minutes to get halfway through last year.

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  • weinstain says:

    Does anyone else feel like this is related to marketing, and just not at all what its all about?

    Burning man org calls anything and everything an “adaptation”. But cancer is an adaptation, of sorts, too.

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  • dragnet says:

    do they really need to get a better idea of who is attending the event ?

    “interactive social digital anthropological experiment”……what a snow job…..

    it sounds “techy” but intellectually amounts to nothing…………………………..

    the reasons they give: to “help map the future ” and “cultivate the culture”

    PURE FLUFF….. and then they dont know what they want to use it for? nice

    management, give us info we will figure it out later…….blackrock was a place

    where they didnt care who came, or try and get personal info from you,

    or encourage you to join groups and conform……

    i still love the place but it’s now much more like a “default” city……

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  • Agua says:

    The “Do you like the pink” question is ambiguous. I thought it meant “Do you like the idea of the card”, not “Do you like the color we picked”.

    Since the answer is a checkbox, you will never know what people have in mind when they answer.

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  • The Other JV says:

    I like that this is being done on paper. Of course it’s opt-in, and many won’t want to do it, which is right and fine.

    But some of the comments above, or the idea of data terminals through BRC–even the # of apps offered in JRS–make me fear I’ll be coming home to a city with a whole bunch of people whose gaze is glued to their devices and not to the wonder around them.

    For me, Burning Man is a way to go completely off radar and un-digital for a week. BRC changes and evolves, sure, but the strong desire for digital this & that seems to make it more like the default world. Which is the opposite of why I come.

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  • zomg says:

    Wow! Just, wow…
    I am technically a burgin, but I’ve had friends going for 15 years. Clearly that was a grievous error on my part, this “experiment” makes it painfully obvious that the (pre)playa spirit is long gone now. :(:(:( The regionals have been spreading and growing though, maybe this is like the life-cycle of any other city. The rot starts at the core, spreads, and then there is a diaspora.
    This is such a downer post, and I apologize for that, I’m sure I’ll have a great time and keep coming back, but, well, this pink postcard thing, damn, “wow” sums it up I guess.

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  • Honestly says:

    Collecting personal data for no particular reason. On paper. Just in case you come up with a use for it. Let me guess: you’ll get some volunteers to type these in. Classic: shoot first, think it through later. No thanks.

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  • Rita C. says:

    I have a question!!!

    My bf and I are getting on Thursday. Will we get a welcome? n_n or the pink card to help they gathering of the info?

    Thanks for answering!

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  • Burdizzo says:

    Pink was the new black.

    For a certain portion of the target audience the paper cards will become cherished schwag. Which means many of them won’t turned in, thereby skewing the demographics of the populace who actually responds to the survey. Has this been statistically taken into account?

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  • Droidle says:

    You want to get a better idea of who actually attends? This is kind of a crappy year to do that, don’t you think? I actually attend, but this year is an exception since I was unable too attain a thicker with enough time to also make travel arrangements, which was the case with many of us veteran burners this year.

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  • Michelle says:

    Please do not be naive, folks…the only reason to collect this information is to either A. sell it to marketers or B. keep it, tell marketers you have it, and make them pay you to send out information to people. “We don’t know what this will be used for” is code for “we haven’t figured out who to sell this to yet, but when we do, believe me, we will make LOTS o’ cash!!!” Certain “lifestyle” companies are probably salivating and becoming aroused at the idea of getting Burner emails, names, etc. Believe me, they will pay many pretty pennies for “access” to the Burning Man “market.” And the central org will not be sharing any of those pretty pennies with the community that made Burning Man what it is.

    Come on, folx. The original organizer stays in a hundred-thousand-dollar RV with catered food brought in. And you think they want your email just because it might be a neat thing to have, maybe?

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  • Hilary says:

    If anyone sees my husband out on the playa please tell him his wife loves him and hope he is having a blast! Hilz misses her lover.

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  • Jerroc says:

    Better late than never. This is a good start to addressing a problem That has been a concern of the community for some time. I am glad to see the BMorg taking steps to preserve the art and gift culture. At the same time shame on you BMorg for acting out of self preservation. It should not take you this long to realize that you are losing your core praticanpants to spring breakers. This decision should have been made for community reasons yeas ago and not the money kind as a ditch effort. To say this was not a foreseeable problem is insulting so dont try. Nonetheless you have my support for 2013 and I look forward to filling out your pink card.

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  • masnail says:

    My son took me to Burning Man this year. We were both first timers. We both tried to fill out the 2012 census but the “Pink card” sort of got blown off. Pink is NOT my favorite color but it does demand attention and is the reason I still have my digital census access card. However I have so far been unable to findout where the site is to complete the afterburn portion of the census. We briefly discussed the “Pink card”, it kicked around the tent floor for awhile and arrived home for further study. A better explanation as given above would have caused us to fill it out. It’s appearance matched the junk mail I get at home. We did not research Burning Man on the internet before our arrival, we just went.

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