One of my first stops during Social Media Week was the tweet2hold interactive installation. Its creators, Toronto media collective The Brototypes, used a combination of technology, graphic design and paper to turn tweets into origami birds. The emotional character of the tweet determined the size, shape and colour of each bird.
It’s definitely cool to see – a seemingly endless stream of tweets transformed into a flock of origami birds. But there was more to it than folded paper. There was something about these birds that made me curious about the message they carried. The fact that someone bothered to take a tweet, put it to paper and make it into something permanent means it must be important, right?
I had the opportunity to chat with Dylan Reibling of The Brototypes as he folded birds. Ironically enough, we ended up discussing the perks of paper. Citing Yoko Ono’s wish trees as inspiration, he told me how tweet2hold was meant to be a physical manifestation of digital data. A fan of the tangible, he questioned society’s rush to dematerialize everything… I couldn’t help but agree with him – a hand-written card will beat a text or a tweet any day.
There’s no doubt that the medium has a definite impact on the message. Scroll through HootSuite and it’s only a matter of time until your eyes glaze over. It’s not because everyone you follow is boring – well it could be – but more so the information overload. Everything becomes noise, the attention-worthy bits of information get lost in cyberspace amidst a bunch of what I ate for dinner tweets. Digital information is great and all, but there is something undeniably appealing about an object you can hold in your hands.
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