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Twitter-controlled cockroach explores social media overstimulation

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tweetroach brittany ransom
tweetroach brittany ransom

Some find cockroaches repulsive, others think they're adorable, and still others see them as an opportunity to make a statement about the relationship between humans and social media. Artist Brittany Ransom outfitted a cockroach with a little backpack called RoboRoach that could control its movement by stimulating its antennae. Then, Ransom hooked the system up to Twitter, and allowed users to control the roach by sending tweets marked with the hashtags #TweetRoachLeft and #TweetRoachRight.

Although others have sought to mind-control roaches before, using Twitter to do so as a way to explore and question the relationship between humans, nature, and technology is certainly novel. According to CNET, the roach only wore the backpack for short periods of time, and could only receive tweets at least 30 seconds apart. The goal, Ransom said, was to see if the roach would learn to block out Twitter's overstimulation in the same way the humans do. The roach was part of the "Life, in some form" exhibit by the Chicago Artists' Coalition that ran from December 7th to the 21st, and can no longer be controlled via Twitter.