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Public text box is a phone booth for Twitter

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The Broadcaster Project has put together a public text box client that allows a computer to post to a single Twitter account linked to a specific place.


The promise of social media is that your profile will aggregate information about you wherever you go — think check-ins and Facebook's Open Graph. But what if a single location could have its own stream of content, created by many people? The Broadcaster Project is a group working to create cheap, ubiquitous devices that allow just that. The Project recently demonstrated its public text box, a computer set to display a Twitter client that posts to a single account.

The account, @publictextbox, is linked to a specific computer at a specific location. The software functions like an ordinary client, but is stripped down to remove everything but the text box and list of tweets. As you can see in the demo video, it's a bit buggy, and it doesn't seem to have been deployed anywhere truly public. But the basic idea could work well at art installations or other communal events: not only would it avoid the inevitable spammers that cluster around event hashtags, it creates a sense of shared space that's lacking in even geotagged tweets. If you're interested in putting together your own public text box, you can check out the code and instructions here. Just put it in something a little more durable than a cardboard box if you're going to leave it out in public.

Image Credit: Inha Leex Hale (Flickr)