Two comments on tweenbots
Tweenbots is absolutely incredible project by Kacie Kinzer, a student at ITP. You see it / read about it and it makes you want to free-hug someone.
Tweenbots are human-dependent robots that navigate the city with the help of pedestrians they encounter. Rolling at a constant speed, in a straight line, Tweenbots have a destination displayed on a flag, and rely on people they meet to read this flag and to aim them in the right direction to reach their goal.
If you haven’t seen it yet go and take a look now (but please comeback to read the rest of the post )
It really moved me and I’ve been thinking about it the whole evening since I picked it up off twitter (thanks herdmeister). Here are my two comments:
1. Simple and genuine is much more compelling than grandiose and choreographed.
Brilliant idea is the new media budget. Here is yet another example how a personal project of anonymous individual takes off like a storm and gets everyone excited, sharing and talking. I’m not doing justice to this fantastic little experiment by comparing it to advertising but couldn’t resist thinking about all those recent ads that try to convey the feeling that people are good. Think Honda’s Let in Shine or do’er and Orange’s people are good together and more, which are all “about telling stories about the brand and making people again feel an emotional attachment to Honda”. A quick check on twitter reveals over 1500(!) tweets for tweenbots vs. just under 300 for Honda. There are various reasons why people find tweenbots ore exciting than Honda’s let it shine (apology again for comparing schnitzel and fish) but there are very obvious lessons we can learn about what makes people tick and how we should think about designing people into marketing. Tweenbots are simple and genuine and that’s 100 more compelling (personally, i should say) than grandiose and orchestrated.
2. We love stories that remind us of our humanity (even if we are humans to robots)
It’s funny how we cling to a minor anecdotal evidence to restore faith in our good nature. How genuinely excited we can get when someone demonstrates the good-will and kindness of strangers. Skim through the tweets and you’ll read assertions like “something that may make you a shed a small happiness tear”, “I know I’m having an overly emotional day when watching videos of people helping Tweenbots literally makes me cry”, ” it reinvigorates my happiness when it comes to other human beings”, “If you ever find yourself thinking that all people are bad, visit this website”. (Mind you, this is NYC, a fairly alienated city to say the list where the beggars and homeless can go unnoticed for years….)