The app that shatters your Twitter avatar and rebuilds it - mirroring the work of the Red Cross.
Changing your Twitter picture or adding a ‘Twibbon’ to your avatar has become an increasingly popular way of showing solidarity to a cause. Georgia Tech School of Interactive Computing professor Eric Gilbert has come up with a clever way to add impact to this digital form of ‘activism’.
Following the hundreds of thousands of Twitter users who added a green overlay to their profile pictures to indicate their support for Iranian protesters in 2009 - and later campaigns like “Stop SOPA” - Gilbert designed a tool to help Twitter users support the American Red Cross.
“When Things Fall Apart”, an experimental campaign, deconstructs and reconstructs your Twitter avatar over three days when you donate $10 or more to the Red Cross. Using a visual language called Processing, your picture will be scattered and periodically rebuilt over 60 hours in 12-hour increments.
The app thematically mirrors some of the work that the Red Cross NGO does, rebuilding communities that have been shattered to pieces by natural disasters.
When Things Fall Apart doesn’t have an expiration date in sight, so Gilbert anticipated a natural disaster could cause an influx of new participants.
It was not associated with a particular disaster, when it was launched earlier in 2012, but social media has played a big part during the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Sandy, which has meant that people are being encouraged to and using the app.
The app is a bit more impactful and makes a couple of key improvements on previous Twitter pic campaigns (which have been dubbed by some as 'slacktivism'): You have to donate in order to get the animation on your profile. Secondly, there is an end expiry date; after three days, your picture returns to normal. That is, unless you wish to make another donation.