With World Pride set to start June 20 in Toronto, Toronto PFLAG has created a Twitter-activated pride flag that will move up and down in real-time.
Created by JWT Canada and ShantyTown, the flag moves based on sentiment analysis of the hashtag #RaiseThePride as well as the overall social web. When tweets with the hashtag are positive, the flag goes up. If they include homophobic references or are otherwise negative, it will move down.
The flag will fly in the heart of Toronto’s gay village, on the roof of The Churchmouse bar, for the entire Pride festival, which runs June 20 to 29. It was created using a re-purposed cable box holding an internet connected Raspberry Pi (a tiny single-board computer), an Arduino microcontroller and a small motor connected to a pulley that moves the flag.
A virtual version of the flag will also fly at RaiseThePride.ca, along with a live view of the hashtag.
The project recalls NoHomophobes.com, a site launched by the University of Alberta in 2012 that offered consumers a real-time view of how many homophobic slurs were currently being used on social media.
Brent Choi, JWT’s chief creative and integration officer, said in a release, “It’s a great example of technology merging with offline to help raise awareness and bring people together, not only in Toronto, but also from around the world.”
Anne Creighton, president of Toronto PFLAG, added, “We love the idea of challenging Toronto to show its support for the LGBTQ community by tweeting something positive to counter the scourge of homophobic slurs.”