The hero that is Fail Whale

3D Fail Whale

My little kinetic sculpture of the lovely Twitter Fail Whale, based on the image by Yiying Lu that is used when is over-capacity. The image is called ‘Lifting up a Dreamer’. I’ve wanted to make this since I first saw the image some weeks ago.

This is a short video of it in action, complete with twittering birds!

More photos here. (Update: fail whale widget here)

I remain optimistic and supportive of Twitter in the long term, because I think the real-time courier service rationale that was the founding impetus of the service constitutes a new branch off Doc Searls’ live web, and makes our online interactions a quantum step closer to Allen Searl’s original vision of  ‘a Web where anybody could contact anybody else and ask or answer a question in real time’. Twitter’s track facility, presently down but still promised, provides the real-time search of people and and what they are talking about right now.

Maybe the progression of branching-off goes a little like this:

static web > live web > real time web
google > blogosphere > twittosphere
our property > our history in time > our real-time conversation
search by sending out bots> search by listening for pings > search by tracking people and words in real time

It may be that Twitter’s primacy will be usurped by some other real-time service that gets up ahead of them in the race; I hope not. But many great progressive ideas start off serendipitously or in fun without their full implications or potential being known, and in those circumstances it’s silly in hindsight to say the founders ought to have seen further, planned better and acted quicker than they did.

26 Responses

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  2. Fantastic sculpture! What a great way to find a silver lining. I agree with your optimistic view of Twitter recent woes. I think ultimately the value of the service will win out over these hiccups. Well reasoned argument for the evolution of the web too.

  3. Aw, I just got the Fail Whale when trying to refresh my Tweets, and this sculpture was the first thing I thought of. I love it! :)

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  6. Hi Kialaya, thats really cool! Thanks for letting me know. I always feel a connection to the Spanish puppetry world – hard to define, but as if there is a common understanding or aesthetic there, so that is interesting to me.
    Thanks to everyone else, too, for your comments. Ed – whats next is that I’m pretty busy making a bunyip bodysuit. My client requires me to keep it under wraps, so I can’t show how it’s coming along.

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  10. Could you help. We are looking for a puppeteer to come to our festival. The Man From Snowy River Festival is on April 4th and we have lots of street activities. We are in Corryong. Please contact me if you have any ideas or can help in anyway. We are trying to provide lots of exciting and different entertainment for our street activities on Saturday 4th, including Farmer’s Market, Craft Markets, Food and Wine, art & photography, bush poetry and bush idol. Thanks,
    Kerrie Haycraft

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