Lincoln Academics Create 'Digital' Garden Grown By Twitter Activity


Academics at the University of Lincoln have created a unique digital garden for the Chelsea Flower Show this year.  Powered by social media activity, the public can directly influence how the garden appears by tweeting about it.

The build, created alongside designers Harfleet & Harfleet, divides the exhibit into two distinct zones.  The usual suspects of plants and foliage will greet visitors upon first sight; but the rare and exotic plants lie behind an autonomous-panelled screen, which responds in real-time to the 'buzz' surrounding the #rhschelsea tag on Twitter.  Actively measuring this using Raspberry Pi, more and more of the garden will be revealed to visitors as the trend builds in popularity.  

Richard Wright, Senior Lecturer, explained how a key interest are of this project has been to explore the metaphorical interaction between the material and immaterial.  Seeing the physical world augmented with social data, or as he puts it: "the notion of space and time being affected by the simple act of a tweet.”

“One of the things we’re trying to do through our research is to understand how digital media can be made to meaningfully intersect with the physical world. The garden is an opportunity to explore aspects of how we can interweave social media data with real space, as well as how it is possible to make sense of this data by creating thought-provoking visualisations," Shaun Lawson, Professor of Social Computing at the University’s School of Computer Science said.

People say social media marketing requires investment of time and commitment to 'grow' your fans, and I can't think of a better metaphor for this than a Twitter-powered garden.  See it fully working below, and check it our at the Chelsea Flower Show, which is opened by the Queen on 20th May.