The IRL Like Sign

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The First IRL Like Sign

In addition to our shiny new dot-com, a small team here at Deutsch has just finished creating what we call our Like Sign. For every Facebook Like we receive on our new site, this sign lights up in the office.

For now, we’ve installed the sign directly in front of the office of our Chief Digital Officer, Winston Binch, where it nearly blinds him with every click.

Why we built the sign:

As advertisers, our mission is to engage networks of consumers, connected by shared interests, to accomplish a measurable business objective on behalf of our client.

Or, in other words, we try to make people do things while influencing their friends.

We do this, largely, by creating cultural currency – things that can be passed on and shared. These were once solely passive experiences, but now we build products, services, and utilities in addition to media.

The first challenge for all of our work, interactive or not, is how far our reach can extend beyond our paid placement. If we can’t create experiences that are actively passed along through networks of consumers, we likely won’t be successful in achieving business results.

We built this sign to be a reminder to ourselves that the measure of our work begins at how it’s passed along. It’s a physical manifestation of our goals. We thought it would be a nice touch to put the sign in front of our webcam for curious visitors to see, but the sign is really for ourselves. The idea is to build a sign for every client team in the building, to host in their section of the office (we sit in teams now, not by discipline) so that we’ll all think more consciously about designing things that people want to share. If the signs create a bit of internal competition, that wouldn’t be a bad thing either.

It even looks like our signs will travel beyond our building. The first client to get a sneak peek at the sign has already asked for their own Like Sign for their office.

Admittedly, sharing is but the first step toward achieving a business objective – but it’s a crucial one. Perhaps we need a physical manifestation of business results right next to the sign. If only sales metrics were as easily accessible as Facebook’s Open Graph … but that’s another project.

How the sign was made:

  • The hardware: Arduino Uno + Ethernet Shield, and a PowerSwitch Tail II.
  • The code: We used the Arduino development environment to create a simple web server. And then we used Javascript and Facebook to interpret the “Like” event.

The physical sign:

  • Frame: 3-½ x ¾  pine, 1/8″ plexiglass, Wood Screws
  • Electrical: 18 gauge wire, 6 – plastic light socket (for standard household lamps), 6 – 25w refrigerator bulbs

Finally, a huge thank you to Mary Toves, Dan Cluff, and Bernie Santos for pulling this off so quickly.

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