By Adam Wenger
You don't need a Twitter account to know about @HiddenCash -- the formerly anonymous, now exposed real estate investor who's been leaving wads of cash all around America.
I was lucky enough to get in on the act early, before the account had over 600,000 followers, before the whole thing became an international phenomenon.
With just a few hundred Twitter followers as competition, I easily found two envelopes, each stuffed with $100 in twenty dollar bills. A day later, the Associated Press wanted to talk. So did BBC Radio, in England -- some 5,000 miles removed from the disgusting utility pole on the corner of 6th and Mission that I gingerly fished my hand into. I did so in search of treasure, fueled by the excitement and the rush that comes with frantically biking a few blocks to find a sealed envelope filled with cash.
"There's a kid in all of us," said Neil Smelser, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at UC Berkeley. He likened the success of Hidden Cash to those pesky Nigerian e-mail scams that falsely promise riches. Getting rich without much effort. The intoxicating allure of instant fortune. Only in this case, it's real.