Just before the 2015 edition of San Francisco's Outside Lands music festival, a mysterious Facebook user who went by the name of "Concert Raptor" devised a 20-clue scavenger hunt across the city for any music fans skillful enough to get through it. The top prize was a free three-day pass.
Approximately 50 people showed up for the scavenger hunt, putting in place the foundation for Clever Girls, a music-focused Bay Area Facebook group that was previously known as Concert Raptors.
"That hunt was definitely a turning point for me, the energy within it and just the amount of interest that there was," the original Concert Raptor told CNBC. He now goes by "Ari teh Raptor," an alias he said he uses to keep the focus on the community rather than himself.
The group has since grown to more than 11,600 users and is now used by music lovers around the Bay Area to share news and early bird ticket codes, and to buy, sell or give away concert tickets. Occasionally, members will also use the group to share any quality raptor memes that they come across.
It's just one example of the changing relationship between Facebook users and the social network, which boasts more than 2.5 billion visitors per month. Until recently, users were focused on the site's News Feed, which contained updates from friends. But as that main billboard got clogged with random news stories and political screeds, Facebook has begun to nudge people more toward participating in groups with others who share their interests.
The project began in 2014 when Ari was living in San Francisco, working as a data scientist by day and hitting up concerts at night. He noticed that people were often stuck outside concert venues, unable to get in. This made him realize that money was a huge blocker for true fans, so he decided to use some of his extra cash to give tickets away in unique ways.
At first, he would post on concert event pages, telling people to find him at a bar to receive a free ticket.
"I had always wanted to do a scavenger hunt from the get-go, but there was a lot of trust I had to garner because I just looked like a scam, I was just this dinosaur saying 'I got free tickets,'" said Ari with a laugh.
As music fans grew to trust him, Ari began to ramp up the challenges. After the 2015 Outside Lands scavenger hunt, a group of the people who had participated in a number of his ticket give-aways encouraged him to create a community. A few months later, he officially started the Facebook group.
After the group started, the scavenger hunts grew. In many cases, people had to search for hidden stickers with raptor emblems on them.
During one notable hunt, the scavengers had to find a series of costumed characters across San Francisco, each offering clues to the next destination, until they finally located Ari hidden at the top of Alamo Square.
"The hunts were super fun and challenging and confusing," Ari said. Over time, Ari's scavenger hunts have died down, and it's been a while since he's done one. But the participatory and random spirit of his scavenger hunts has endured.
Ari picked the name Concert Raptors because he had thought of the dinosaurs as cute but interesting since watching "Jurassic Park" as a kid.
"They're clever obviously, but they're also a little scary if you don't know their intentions," he said. "That's been part of the group too."
More recently, Concert Raptors went through an evolution. Last year, Ari changed the group's name to Clever Girls, a nod to actor Bob Peck's famous line from "Jurassic Park." The change was polarizing, but several members responded playfully by posting more raptor memes.
"There's a certain freshness to things evolving a little bit," Ari said.
The group has also spurred copycats in several other cities, although only Concert Raptors NYC, LA Concert Raptors and Berlin Concert Raptors have really taken hold. Regardless, Ari says he appreciates it when people reach out to him and ask for permission to start offshoot groups.
"It offers these great musical hubs," Ari said. "You can just go to another city and just immediately have this common ground with other people who really love music, and possibly dinosaurs as well."
These days, the group has gotten so large and the culture is so instilled that users trade and give away tickets for free. It's not uncommon for members to post screenshots of their tickets on the group, encouraging others to go have fun in their stead. That's how Daniel Swann was able to get free tickets to a recent DJ set at San Francisco's 1015 Folsom venue.
"What would've been a night that cost $100 ended up being free for me and a few friends," said Swann, who's been in the group for three years now. "I'm very grateful for the group, and I try to give back when I can."