Social networking is here to stay. Have you ever felt like you are missing out on the latest social networking game? To ease the Fear of Missing Out there is Solace 2.0: a software platform that automatically generates social network activity for it's user. This subversion of social media results in a record of transgressions to create a subtly animated self portrait: a picture of Dorian Gray for the Internet age.
Solace is a software mashup of Foursquare, Twitter, and Google Maps APIs. A caricature of the user's face is turned into a point cloud and drawn on a digital map. The software then finds venues (restaurants, bars, concert halls, institutions, etc) closest to each point. The software then checks the user into each of these venues automatically over and over again and plots each successive check in on the map.
Solace 2.0 was installed as the centerpiece of a self portrait in a library. Artifacts dealing with other people's attempts to make a name for themselves (such as aerial photographs of the Nazca Lines of Peru) were presented alongside the digital map portrait for reflection of historical comparison.
The "Twitter Bible" showed a continuously updating stream of social media activity which corresponded with the changes in the digital self portrait on the map. For several weeks I found solace and assuaged the guilt of not participating. Close to the end of the installation period, the curtain was ripped from the portrait when my lies were discovered. My computer assisted social media adventure came to a crashing end when my main account was erased without warning by administrators who were convinced I was a robot.
At fist, they claimed that they had no record of my account and that I must have deleted it myself. Finally, they did admit that the engineering team shut me down. Even though I stayed under the API request limit as described by the terms of service at the time (200/h), Foursquare said: "...it sounds like your account was removed by our engineering team due to a large number of check-ins when you were not at the places...I'm so sorry about this because we love the idea of a public art project built off of Foursquare!"
Photography by Jay Muhlin.