Social Networking Guilt Made Manifest

Like a lot of people, I face a very 21st Century first world problem: The guilt of not being able to keep up with all the communications from all my devices and social networks.

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I saw this very useful hack on Hack-a-Day, originally posted as an Instructable, and thought, Ah ha!

One of the marks of how busy you are – or how well your spam filters are set up – is how many unread emails you have in your inbox. Trumpkin over on Instructables posted a great tutorial for making a wireless counter that displays the number of unread emails in your Gmail account.

Clearly, this is supposed to be utilitarian, a clever way to see whether you need to drop everything and check your email. But to me, it looked like my guilt made manifest.

What if we make the order to drop everything and get cracking on your social networking more explicit? I wanted a klaxon of some sort, a more visible counter, one of these for each of my many forms of modern communication.


Together, they would create an audio-visual manifestation of modern communication angst, an insistent cacophony of social networking.

How would these be driven? An RasPi in each? Some simple multiplexing driver? Ideally, I guess, I’d have a single internet-connected driver that would know how to monitor each of these services, and tell each indicator what number to display and when to honk the horn.

How would you get access to all these social networking services without laboriously writing new APIs and screen-scrapers?  A few companies offer Social Media Dashboards.  For instance, HootSuite even offers a convenient API.

What would be ideal, is if the system could sense who was walking by, and share the anxiety by reminding them how much social networking they’d left undone.

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