The idea machine
Looking for inspiration for your next brainstorming session? Welcome to the idea machine, my curated list of some of the best online projects out there. Pick and grab – my only request is that you use these springboards to come up with something good of your own.
This summer round up showcases imaginative ways to engage the public online. They’re not at all limited to social media campaigns – drawing on inspiration from amazing projects keeps your borders wide open, so you don’t get stuck pounding out the same old social media campaign on the same old platforms. Enjoy!
Check out samizdat drafting company’s Fuguestate, a project that’s a brilliant introduction to the math behind music theory through a simple visualization of Bach’s “Little Fugue” on a player piano type roll. This project takes a complex amount of data and makes it simple and beautiful – and by the time you’ve finished watching the animation, you’ll have a much better idea of how for Bach, math is music.
Twistori is an oldie but a goodie. Grabbing tweets based on basic key-words like “love”, “hate”, “believe”, “feel” and “wish”, Twistori grabs and organizes live tweets in a constantly updating feed.
Ushahidi is another platform that’s been around for a little while but is the gift that keeps on giving. First used during the violence following the Kenyan presidential elections, this platform allows people to tweet, email or call in reports to a map. This collaborative mapping is a powerful way to create a rich picture of what’s happening on the ground. It was put to spectacular use during the earthquake in Haiti, where reports from civilians helped disaster relief agencies to understand where people were trapped and where fires had broken out. Closer to home, Ushahidi has been used in North America to map reports of swine flu, and to ask for help digging out neighbourhoods after a blizzard.
4.Let’s Go Arctic: Shell Oil Spoof
This social media campaign completely fooled me. At first glance, this looks like activists have managed to subvert a lame contest in which Shell has asked users to create social ads that share how “pumped” they are to be drilling in the Arctic. The “user made” social ads totally subvert the contest, helping to generate sharing and interest in protesting drilling in the Arctic. The thing is: this is clearly not Shell’s site. It’s almost certainly by Greenpeace. As of June 20th, more than 8, 800 images have been submitted to the site, and Shell has yet to react. This campaign builds on the success of unaffiliated spoofs like @bpglobalpr, occupying corporate space faster than a corporation can.
This Pinterest contest is incredibly simple – to enter, users create a board called “Inspired By Nicole Bridger” and then pin items from Nicole Bridger’s new online store to their board to tell the story of what lifestyle these clothes go with – would users wear them on a date with a cute painter, or go on a spree at the local music festival? The contest rewards users with a modest $250 gift certificate, but the free peer-to-peer advertising Nicole Bridger will get through users pinning their products and spreading the word through Pinterest is priceless.