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.
Want to participate? Include #smwTO in your tweets.
Google has come under fire lately for only promoting social search results from its Google+ network. This led to the start of project Focus on the User, spearheaded by a team of architects from Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. Using information already coded and indexed by Google, they built the Don’t Be Evil bookmarklet that surfaces the most relevant (aka popular) social profiles—regardless of platform—from the first ten pages of results.
Mouse over the image to see Google’s self-promotion in action.
In Google we trust… Or at least we did. But is it really such an outrageous crime that Google uses its own website to promote itself? You don’t see ABC getting upset that CBS isn’t promoting one of its new shows.
Somewhere along the way we became so comfortable with Google that we lost sight of what it is. It’s not a NGO or public service; it’s a for-profit, publically traded company—with its own agenda and vested interests—that’s out to make a buck or two.
That being said, I’m not sure that this is the best move for Google. People have made Google their search engine of choice because they trust it to return the most accurate, relevant and inclusive results on the web. With these new changes, I’ll be interested to see whether it’ll be Google+ or a rival search engine that sees a traffic increase.
Do you think Google is out of line for changing its search algorithm to promote itself?
Total Voters: 18
The Internet was abuzz about SOPA yesterday as sites went black in protest. According to Twitter, 2.4 million+ SOPA-related tweets were sent yesterday, which can be seen in this impressive visualization.
If you could make a New Year’s resolution on behalf of the Internet, what would it be? Would it be for all apps to include capability x? For a website to do function y? Some other feature that’d solve all your worldly problems?
That’s the thinking behind The Internet Wishlist – a site dedicated to sharing people’s ideas for better apps and websites. Contributing is easy… just tweet your idea and include the #theiwl hashtag.
So… what would you like to see happen to the Internet in 2012?
It only appeared briefly in some blogs, but last week a draft of the new European Data Protection Directive was leaked in the press. This signals a new episode in the fight between the purist approach of the European Commission and the more relaxed attitude towards data protection held by the US.
If this legislation is passed in Europe, it will result in drastic changes to the data collection models of many big companies, especially those of big US-based data processors like Google, Facebook and Twitter.
What are the biggest changes EU marketers should expect?
A similar legal battle is currently taking place between Facebook and Max Schrems, a 22-year-old Austrian law student. Schrems is suing the social network for violating privacy laws, in particular, for storing data that is deleted by users and for creating shadow profiles for both users and nonusers without permission.
Documentary style videos, like this one, that depict Facebook to be a KGB-like digital organization seem pretty hilarious at first. Nevertheless, I think that they are damn right. Why should Facebook need to store data that I’ve deleted? If I want to ignore friend requests or view someone’s profile 87 times per week than so be it. It’s my business and it definitely doesn’t need to be stored by Facebook for safekeeping.
It is our obligation to support legislation that gives users more power and restricts the reach of overly intrusive marketers. Don’t mess with our Internet!