I just ordered a Christmas decoration with a difference. Yes, it’s a snowman. Yes, it’s ice white with coal-black eyes and buttons. Yes, it’s got a little string so I can hang it from the tree to celebrate the festive season.
But this one uses the power of Twitter.
Frstee is the latest experiment from some friends of mine in London known collectively as the Really Interesting Group. They’ve come up with a way to inject a bit of the web into Christmas by producing an individually-manufactured bauble whose dimensions are determined by online data… in this case, details about your Twitter usage.
So, when you order your very own Frstee, the system takes a look at a Twitter account of your choosing (perhaps yours, perhaps a friend’s, perhaps Lady Gaga). And the more followers you have, the bigger the snowman’s head. Conversely, somebody with a small Twitter following will have an undersized noggin:
In addition, the number of buttons on the snowman’s front correspond to the number of years you’ve been using Twitter.
It is intended, say the gang with tongue firmly in cheek, to cause “a uniquely Social Media frisson around your festive tree.”
He’s been on sale for a couple of weeks already, but this isn’t Frstee’s first time at the snowdeo. Really Interesting Group has got form on this stuff: a couple of years ago they produced a series of data-based objects (“datadecs”) which included not only a Twitter snowman, but also baubles cut to represent your online listening patterns, travel patterns and photo uploads. This time they’re making the idea available to the public.
If you want a Frstee in time for Christmas you’d better hurry. Manufacturing and delivery take 21 days because each one is 3D printed individually and shipped off to you. And while these one-offs aren’t exactly cheap — mine cost £19.50 ($31) — they are a lot of fun.