The Internet Thing is a new tool that will help you maintain a continuous peripheral awareness of online events, without ever having to look at a screen.

How does The Internet Thing work?

1. Plug in The Internet Thing

The sign will connect to the internet through your WiFi network.

2. Keyword what you care about

You can set up a custom set of keywords that our system will monitor for you.

3. Hang out with friends

Take a break from the screen for a while. Research shows that it is good for you.

4. Auto-monitoring
Our system will track the volume of conversation taking place on social media.
5. An alert goes off!
The sign lights up when a statistically significant volume of conversation is reached.
6. Engage online
Get involved with the conversation when it is active and your voice can be most effective.


We are currently developing this new tool for activists, non-profits, independent journalists, and people like you. If you wish to become involved with this project, then get in touch with us on Twitter @captainkmac and @DrWeidinger.

November 16, 2015 We are excited to announce that The Internet Thing just submitted a grant proposal to the Knight Prototype Fund. Stay tuned for more updates.



Research and Inspiration

The Internet Thing is inspired by Rachel and Nicolas’ work at Derecho Lab, involving statistical analysis of historical social media data. We have found that online conversation has a consistent daily and weekly rhythm, and any deviation from that rhythm suggests a significant event and a potentially effective time to engage in conversation online.

Cory Doctorow’s Makers

A science fiction novel in which one of the main characters, a journalist, has set up her mobile device with keyword alerts to let her know any time something big is happening online.


Amber Case’s idea of Calm Technology

In a soon to be published book, Amber outlines the principles of a more subtile style of technology interface, one that informs from the periphery and engages multiple senses.