Carry Your Cloud Prototype

25 Mar

For the past week I was part of a prototype–conceived by David Bellona–based on the idea of physically carrying my Twitter cloud. I was given a small container with 6 compartments, with Lego “coins” in each compartment, and one empty compartment to be used as the depository. Each day, I was allowed 2 tweets, and once I tweeted I was to put the coin into the depository. If I didn’t use up all of my tweets for one day, it would transfer to the next day. Along with the container came a journal to write thoughts and feelings down.

Many users are oblivious to the face that their data has to physically live and be stored somewhere, which is why there are data centers that hold all of the information. These data centers are buildings filled with servers, and produce a lot of heat. It’s difficult to measure the exact carbon emissions of the internet, but these data centers can give us a good estimate.

Before I began, I was like, “Oh this will be so easy I don’t really tweet that often anyways, so no big deal.” But the first day, I already felt constrained and like my social media freedom was taken away because I couldn’t tweet and share as freely as I’m used to.

It made me realize how social and active I am on online. I don’t think this activity is distracting from my offline life, but I now know my activity online and the data I am pushing out has an impact and effect on the environment.

After thinking more about the effects of my online activity, I still probably won’t change my social media activity habits. Unless the whole world is willing to change, and try to reverse the damage we have done; what a few people do will have little to no impact.

Now, here’s thoughts and feelings I had during this prototype:

March 14th
I receive a lot of information from Twitter, but I’m not always contributing useful or interesting info. I’m hesitant to tweet, as my tweets seem more valuable now. Limiting the quantity of tweets equals increased in value of tweet.

I’m noticing how connecting my Twitter account to Facebook, instagram, and foursquare amplifies and interconnects my different “social circles.” Although many of my friends overlap on these networks – so maybe I just need one social network? If everyone was on one social network, how would that effect the cloud?

March 15th
I converse with friends more on Twitter compared to other social networks I am on. Maybe because it is so similar to SMS messaging? Noticing how most of my tweets are pre-meditated; now it is emphasized because they are limited. Expectations of reactions of followers; I expect some type of reaction from my tweets.

Something I posted on twitter comes up in convo w/ friend – conversation starter?

I want to Retweet so many tweets, so much good stuff, but I must be wise about my tweets, only one left.

March 16th
Not tweeting as often as I am used to, I’ve found myself checking Facebook more often, and also being more active on Facebook. One of my tweets went out to support a friend. Hopefully I helped them out! Sometimes I wonder how influential or effective it is to have 250 followers. For someone like me, it seems to be a lot.

March 17th
Three tweets today! I feel spoiled. Most of my tweets were from Instagram today, noticed that i received a lot more feedback/comments when posting pictures.

March 18th
No good tweet content came up today, yet I felt obligated to tweet because I was allowed 2 tweets. I noticed my Klout score went up by about 4 pts since this experiment began, possibly due to posting more frequently on Facebook.

Bringing a physicality to one’s cloud is a really intriguing and also challenging project. We are so used to the invisible convenience of the cloud, that it’s difficult for us to take a few steps back and see the physical aspect (PDF) and impact of the internet.


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