Starting with a paper clip, a year later he has a home

ON BLOGS

August 06, 2006|By TROY MCCULLOUGH | TROY MCCULLOUGH,SUN COLUMNIST

When we last checked in on Canadian blogger Kyle MacDonald a few months ago, he was well on his way to obtaining a house through a wonderfully simple bartering scheme.

Well, MacDonald got his house - and now he's moved on to even bigger things.

MacDonald's story began over a year ago when he decided to extrapolate an old schoolyard scheme into real-world success. Starting with a red paper clip, he intended to trade up for slightly more valuable objects and continue trading up until he obtained a home.

One year and 14 trades later, MacDonald succeeded in his quest, thanks in no small part to an extensive Internet buzz and mass media momentum that swirled around his plan. MacDonald documented each step of his quest on his blog, and thousands of people around the world eagerly followed along.

MacDonald's trades included a fish-shaped pen, a gas generator, a moving van, one year of free rent in Phoenix and a day with Alice Cooper.

In his final barter, MacDonald gleefully turned over a guaranteed role in a Hollywood film for a house in Kipling, Saskatchewan, Canada, on July 12 - a year to the day since he started his journey.

But even though his official quest ended there, the momentum kept going.

On Monday, MacDonald announced that he had secured book and movie deals to chronicle his year.

"One Red Paperclip, the book, is due to hit bookshelves next summer," MacDonald announced on his site. "I will write the book in my favorite language: Canuck-Yank-Bloglish."

MacDonald sold the movie rights to Dreamworks, though he cautioned that plans are still at their earliest stages.

"I know about as much as you do," he wrote. "The rights were optioned for TV/Film. That's it. High hopes for a choice flick or genre-creating TV show, but there's no production schedule in place."

"Needless to say, I'm pretty beyond-stoked about all of this," MacDonald wrote.

Boomer linking

Social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook have caused a lot of hand-wringing among baby boomers worried about their children's online activities.

But some boomers have decided to take a few cues from their kids.

Underscoring this is the launch of Eons.com, a new social-networking site for the over-50 set. Created by Monster.com founder Jeff Taylor and launched Monday, Eons is the latest Web site aiming to create thriving online community of baby boomers and seniors - the most established being the popular Thirdage.com.

Eons, and other senior social networking sites, are broadly similar to their more youth-centric counterparts. Site participants can create profiles, join message board discussions, and seek companionship or romance.

The Eons site is broken into familiar sections that cover a variety of topics, including money, sex, relationships, health and work - all par for the course for online communities.

But scroll to the bottom of the homepage and you'll notice a few distinct items, notably a longevity calculator and a tribute to John F. Kennedy.

It's quickly apparent that you're not in MySpace territory anymore.

troy.mccullough@baltsun.com

Listen to Troy McCullough's podcasts at baltimoresun.com/onblogs.

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