Monday, 26 October 2009

The Berlin Twitter wall - Kulturprojekte Berlin and the perils of social media (part 482)

Kulturprojekte Berlin are celebrating the 'Fall Of The Wall' with a real world event at the Brandenburg Gate on 9th November and an ongoing social media tribute - 'The Berlin Twitter Wall.'

In 1988 the Berlin Wall and The Brandenburg Gate looked like this:

Berlin - Brandenburg Gate
Berlin - Brandenburg Gate by nickburcher, on Flickr

The anniversary tribute Berlin Twitter Wall reflects on these times and looks like this:

The Berlin Twitter WallThe Berlin Twitter Wall (click for larger image)

The Berlin Twitter Wall is hosted at and syndicates any messages from Twitter that are tagged with the hashtag #fotw. The Berlin Twitter Wall encourages participants to "share your thoughts on the Fall of the Berlin wall now or let us know which walls still have to come down to make our world a better place!" However, this seems to have acted as a rallying cry for Chinese protest against the GFW (Great Fire Wall) and the Berlin Twitter Wall now seems to be dominated by tweets protesting against Chinese internet censorship...........

(The Berlin Twitter Wall also highlights the artwork that has been produced for the real world celebration on 9th November at the Brandenberg Gate. 1000 hand-painted Styrofoam dominos created by a collection of artists, politicians, celebrities and children will be toppled at the anniversary event and photos of the 2.5 metre high dominos are embedded into the Berlin Twitter Wall.)

The Berlin Twitter Wall is a simple but effective way of personalising the celebrations and taking the main event online / to a global audience - though after encouraging comment about 'walls that need to come down' there is now a difficult decision about whether to moderate anti-Chinese government internet protests.

Censoring activity that celebrates freedom doesn't feel right, but having an official German celebration 'hijacked' by internet users protesting about freedom in China is probably not ideal either.

A great project, but some difficult decisions to take - what to do?

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