The Arduino is a device rife with the possibility of social experimentation. It is a tool that allows us to delve deep into the invisible systems that we find ourselves a part of on a daily basis. Things we take for granted suddenly become exciting new opportunities to explore the meaning of human actions and potentially shape them to benefit us in ways that are different from their original purpose. The Arduino is a teacher with no curriculum but the one that you, the student, set before yourself.
The reason for starting the E.C.H.O project is not to change the world (at least not yet), but rather, for the purpose of expanding our horizons. These experiments are solely for the pursuit of insight and knowledge. Our work is not centered on the pretense of some grandiose noble goal, rather, our “Labor must, on the contrary, be performed as if it were an absolute end in itself, a calling.” – (Max Weber)
The E.C.H.O project is a sounding board for these desires. By giving a voice to the drone of the twitter feed, we allow ourselves to better understand its concerns and its desires, as if it were a living, breathing entity. In this sense, Twitter is like a human being, a creature with bias and opinions. However, right now, its voice is a flood of text and mixed messages. The E.C.H.O, then, may serve as its soapbox – a tool that enables Twitter to speak its mind with a single, cohesive voice, and to help us understand both its politics and the politics of those that use it. It is true that “many technical devices and systems important in everyday life contain possibilities for many different ways of ordering human activity. Consciously or unconsciously, deliberately or inadvertently, societies choose structures for technologies that influence how people are going to work, communicate, travel, consume and so forth over a very long time.” – (Winner)
As such a prevalent and important system in the modern age, it is imperative to discover Twitter’s social and cultural impact on the world, and while the E.C.H.O may only be able to voice a small portion of the massive network’s river of information, perhaps one day, our humble little box will be used for great scientific endeavors.
The members of this project are comprised of Emerging Media and Communication students– Junior Aaron Manns, and Seniors Alex Juarez, Will Parsons, Belinda Heliot, Laura Carroll and Robert Reedy.