A project by Interactive Communications students at Berghs School of Communications plays to our sense of vanity in the social media space.
“Don’t Tell Ashton” is a unique project initiated by the Interactive Communication class at Berghs School of Communication. The project invites people to take part in what they refer to as the world’s first physical artwork created entirely out of Twitter users. People join the artwork by Tweeting about it. Participants’ profile pictures are then visualized and give a sense of what their everyday impact is online; the amount of followers a person has on Twitter decides their size inside the frame.
According to the site:
Our mission with this project is to explore the possibilities of social currency and prove the power of 140 characters. We want to showcase the people and brands that make a difference just by being social online.
As the name of the project alludes to, the only person with enough followers to fill the entire frame is actor and active social media contributor Ashton Kutcher. Berghs students believe Kutcher to be an ideal example of someone who has “proven himself outstanding in combining his social status off line together with an elegance in engaging people in the online space”. The final artwork may ultimately be awarded to Kutcher to encourage his continued broadcast of commentary and “news” to rival that of many traditional new media sources.
The project is interesting for multiple reasons, not the least of which is why it is so compelling to participants. In the social media space, we get to make a mark, leave an imprint, develop a personal brand – and earn followers while we’re at it. Does it play to a very human sense of vanity to see how big our photo/image will be based on our follower count, compared to others in the space? Another observation is that the project demonstrates that social currency builds value – whether perceived or quantified – and applies to personal brands/individuals, and not just to corporate brands.
The site’s creators explain:
For the ordinary man and woman, social currency is something that will definitely be of rising interest as it gives people new opportunities when trading goods, services etc. Reputation is a new value and peoples actions online is affecting their wealth.
Congratulations to Berghs students on developing such a compelling and unique project – both from a communications and cultural anthropology perspective!