The Webby for Good, produced in partnership with WP Engine, is a showcase of Webby-honored projects and campaigns that are promoting social good in the world.
Describe your project. What is it, what was the elevator pitch?
In the wild and wonderful world of memes, gifs, cats, snaps, and emojis, it’s easy to forget what we share is being collected and distributed, so we created a DIY spy kit to democratize surveillance. But unlike conventional eavesdroppers, people listen to conversations and turn them into fun. Once assembled, people point the parabolic microphone in the direction of conversations they want to hear, and watch as sentences transform into real-time gifs on the device itself.
What key challenges did you face with this project? And how did you overcome them?
We needed to turn a creative idea—the first gif generating DIY spy kit—into reality, and we hit a lot of fun and mind-bending pitfalls along the way. We overcame them with a healthy dose of humor and copious gifs, and by failing fast and furiously and creating new ways of solving problems. We also needed to make a kit that was easy for people to assemble.
What was the most rewarding aspect of working on your project?
Working with a talented bunch of people who shared a sense of humour, wonder, and sweat stains to build something to raise awareness of the need for transparency in an era of surveillance, and spread the word in a playful, gif-tastic way.
Why this particular cause as the subject of your project/campaign?
Data collection, privacy, and transparency are issues that will become even more important in the next 5-10 years, as we continue to digitize every aspect of our lives. We think people have the right to know how their data is being used, as well as why, where, and by whom.
When working on this project, what were some of the most important conversations you had with your team?
We explored what we loved and feared about the interwebs, and how to translate that into a device that would playfully engage people on an important issue.
What did you learn from working on this project that you didn't know going into it? Did anything come out of it that surprised you, or that you weren't expecting?
We were approached by different types of people and companies who wanted to explore possible collaborations and uses for the DIY surveillance kit, including some we never imagined—like using the device in school to teach children about social issues they need to be aware of in a digital world.
Projects that integrate art and technology, exploring and expanding the distinctive capacity of the medium. Projects must include a Web-based component and may include an offline element.