And the best use of Twitter goes to…

Twitter addicts cartoon

I am a haphazard user of Twitter. Part of the time, I’m using it for work, as a sort of announcement page for our company. Usually, it’s me talking about what the dog underneath my desk is doing (there’s a surprise), but I also use it to talk about new product launches, packaging changes and that sort of thing.

Personally, I use twitter as a re-feed for this blog, and to occasionally enter into a war of words with nit wits who engage in dog rescue, but still think Pit Bulls are scary man eating monsters (cough HoustonDog cough). I also seem to end up passing snarky comments back and forth with YesBiscuit, who keeps me up to date on American Health Care reform, as well as the life and times of antiquarian rock stars and their teenaged Russian girlfriends.

I have also spent time wondering just what the point of twitter is – I know it’s supposed to be about us interacting with each other, but 99% of the people who want me to read their tweets are companies just like the one I work for, who see twitter as a sort of promotional tool. That, or they want me to click a link to take their ‘free test’. Phishing scams sure do adapt quickly, don’t they?

That’s what makes the #garden project so freakin’ awesome. Started as an interactive art installation, it allows us to actually take part in a back and forth exchange with living beings who exist based on our actions (even if those living beings happen to be plants).

In the words of #garden project’s creator, Craig Fahner –

#garden is a piece that investigates the social media impulse. Several potted plants are set up in the exhibition space, rigged with electronic sensors and a water pump. Based on sensor data, the #garden will communicate its mood nightly via Twitter, a social media “microblogging” platform. Twitter users can give the #garden water by responding to its posts.

Over 50,000 Twitter messages are posted per hour. These messages may include political statements, eyewitness journalism, or mindless expressions of boredom — all on the same page. Cast-off thoughts of movie stars, and reminders from family members appear side by side. Twitter achieves this kind of democracy only by limiting its users: each post must be no longer than 140 characters. This limit of expression is the great equalizer.

#garden disrupts the limiting nature of social media by bringing it off of the screen. Interactions with the #garden, rather than being lost in a sea of fleeting transmissions, cause a physical response by contributing to a tangible community garden. Participants can communally support the garden, or via the impulsiveness of social media, drown and destroy it.

In simple terms, our actions grow the garden. We give it water, we give it light – all via twitter. In return, it gives us updates on its condition, and its needs.

To interact with #garden, please visit, and type either “water” or “light” to keep it growing.

source – Spark