As I go about my daily life in the bubble that is the Elon iMedia Master’s program, I find myself trying hard to stay current on what is going on in the “real world.” I’m not talking about the MTV show (although the Cancun reunion special was pretty amazing last night). You see, as I spend my days reading and going to class and reading and tweeting and blogging (which I need to make a more conscious effort to stay on top of, by the way), there is a lot I’m missing outside the brick walls of campus.
So today, while sitting in the iMedia lounge on the 2nd floor of Powell, eating some spicy chicken fingers from Downstairs McEwen dining hall, I picked up the Wall Street Journal. Wouldn’t you know it, right there on the front page, below the fold was an article about the G-20 coming to my hometown of Pittsburgh. If you didn’t know, the Steel City has been on a roll this year. First the Steelers win the Super Bowl, then the Penguins bring home the Stanley Cup and now the town is set to play host to 20 of the most powerful leaders in the world.
A town known for its friendliness will be pushed to the limit as it hosts the two-day summit next week (September 24-25). Traffic congestion, road closures and if the G-20 in London this past March was any indicator, lots and lots of protesters. (Reportedly, they numbered in the tens of thousands, which is probably why a few thousand extra police are being called in from bordering states to help out).
All of this is well and good, but you are probably wondering how this applies to Interactive Media. Here’s the answer. That article in the Wall Street Journal talked about how people were trying to get their message heard during the summit. Not only is there a Pittsburgh haiku contest tied in with the G-20, (the winner’s poem will be displayed on a theater marquee close enough for the leaders to read), but also a beer summit (tasting beers from the G-20 countries) and what really caught my eye; a project that will allow people to flash messages at delegates, using Morse code from the windows of an office building across the river from the summit. Messages sent to a Twitter account named “heyg20” will be translated into a multicolored Morse code light show.
Talk about blending the old with the new… tweeting messages that will be translated into Morse code, which I’m guessing no one at the summit will be able to read. But that’s kind of the point, according to the freelance artist in charge of the project. She said that the average person’s concerns aren’t being heard anyway, so why not use Morse code as a metaphor.
So if there is something you want to read coming from an office building along the three rivers of Pittsburgh (that is, if you know Morse code), shoot http://twitter.com/heyG20 a tweet and let your message be heard… or I should say, “read” by the world.