During the TED 30th anniversary conference The Next Chapter held in Vancouver this year, 1200 attendees experienced a variety of talks on personal and technological innovation – including what an astronaut learned about fear, the new waves of bionic limbs, and the success of failure. But this year’s conference offered attendees an option to also learn about themselves while connecting with their peers in an unusual way.
Social Soul, an immersive installation developed for the conference by experiential marketing company MKG, is a new way to visualize what you’ve shared with the world while connecting you with your social media soulmate.
Although your social media pages provide a technological imprint of yourself for the world to access, such individual exposure is dwindled down to a only a couple of glances as countless viewers are quickly sifting through. In a flood of information from many streams, its hard to determine the true substance and impact of your voice, let alone trying to decipher millions of others.
MKG’s Social Soul installation thus extracts the concepts and themes that are prevalent through your digital personality and displays it all around you, allowing you to experience the sights, sounds and messages of your social stream in a unified panoramic display. Users begin the experience by hashtagging #socialsoul, and complete it by meeting up with their fellow TED attendee social soulmate that they were matched with.
To create the digital soul searching experience, MKG teamed up with two programming artists Lauren McCarthy and Kyle McDonald to design complex algorithms that analyzed, displayed, searched and matched users twitter feeds with their TED social soulmates. Seven different coding languages were used just to effectively incorporate all of the complex scripting and styling.
First, the installation scans and analyzes important keywords and themes that are prevalent throughout your twitter stream. For the first minute after stepping into the installation composed of 50 screens and infinitely reflecting mirrors, you are surrounded by your own macro twittersphere that you’ve created – your twitter posts, photos, videos and sounds – what you’ve shown to the world that is important to you, formed into a 360 degree collage displayed and infinitely reflected around you. And after stepping into your own world, hopefully you like what you see.
During the second minute you are surrounded by a new sphere – the sights, sounds and words of a familiar voice that isn’t your own. Within a split second, Social Soul has found a fellow TED conference attendee that shares your same interests and concerns, and has allowed you to step into their social stream. You leave the installation with a name and a twitter handle – encouragement to seek out your social soulmate and connect.
“You are able to get underneath the hood of their social soul for just a few seconds, and hopefully it’s really intriguing to the point you’ll want to discover who this person is,“ MKG Digital Creative Director David Brown explained.
And it worked. MKG monitored the twitter feed, reporting that over 300 people joined the conversation, which in turn generated a staggering 8 million impressions. The small experience successfully created a global conversation, finding a new way to cut through digital information overload to connect virtual psyches in the flesh. Check out the feed to see social soulmates connecting and the conversation growing.