Your new Facebook friend is … a plant?!

Have you met Meet Eater? This plant just joined Facebook and lives off of wall posts, updates and friends.

In efforts to reconnect humans with plants creator, Bashkim Isai, has taken it to a more personal level by making Meet Eater dependent on human interaction in order to survive. As environmental awareness continues to rise and social media is skyrocketing, this might be one of the cleverest ideas yet!

Meet Eater also has human-like qualities. While this real plant, located in The Edge of the Queensland State Library, is given food and water depending on the amount of interaction it receives, it also replies to fan wall posts as an actual person would. And interaction isn’t just limited to the written word; you can also “pet” Meet Eater, which will return the favor with human-like sounds to express its appreciation. Just don’t overfeed it, you might make it gag and cough if you do!

Not only does Meet Eater reconnect us with plant life, but it also forces us rethink our perception of how we use social media to communicate as well as how valuable interaction is for us.

According to Meet Eater’s Facebook page, it already has more than 5,000 fans at 84 days old. However, the possibility of Meet Eater being overindulged could always happen. But if it needs some quiet time, it’s only a Facebook status update away.

This entry was posted in Seva Communications, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Your new Facebook friend is … a plant?!

  1. hdfulton says:

    Wow. At first read, this experiment sounds … a bit too out-of-the-box for me. However, if the ultimate goal of the Meet Eater experiment is to allow people to realize that humans (and plants, I guess) are sustained by interactions, then by all means, let the friending, petting, feeding and digital pruning begin!

    Your post prompted me to do a little online digging (pardon the pun) for more wacky social media experiments.

    Check this out. Apparently, via Twitter, people can now converse with their plants.
    http://mashable.com/2008/02/25/plant-twitter/

  2. bmalex says:

    This is an interesting post because it reminds us about new ways that PR strategists can acquire fans through social networking by generating innovative ideas. If Meet Eater can reach new social media consumers and get them interested in the idea, then it is a successful campaign.

    My group for JMC 417 was thinking about doing a similar type of Facebook campaign for our class project and client. Without going too much into things, we want to interact with consumers in the first person rather than by acting as a client spokesperson or PR representative. I think this strategy, whether for us or any other client, will have its ups and downs. On one hand, you connect with fans in a more interactive and fun way. It leaves room for creative and imagination on both ends of the Internet. Yet on the other hand, I believe you run the risk of looking unprofessional and like you don’t take your client seriously because you’re acting as a plant or action figure or whatever the case.

    What do you think?

  3. mwilson9 says:

    This post first caught my attention because I thought the idea of reconnecting humans with plants in cyberspace was a bit odd. After visiting the Facebook page, I realized how creative it was from a PR perspective. More than 5,000 fans at only 84 days old is quite impressive, but what really caught my attention was the numerous publications in various countries and languages worldwide. That alone made me interested to find out what all the buzz was really about.

    The idea, according to the Facebook page, is to teach people that plants are living, breathing things that need love and attention to blossom. Although, to be quite honest, I’m still not exactly sure if there is an actual plant or even if the idea of tending to actual plants is the motive behind all this. I am a bit confused, but curious nonetheless; so curious that I may just feed the plant. Either way, what a great way to use social media to advance environmental awareness.

  4. pperryve says:

    It’s fascinating to see how ubiquitous social media has really become. I’m not too sure about “the plant lives on interaction so we should too” scenario. Is the importance your talking about actual human interaction, or the electronic kind? Still it’s interesting and a real sign of things to come.

    • slarsonm says:

      I completely agree! And I think it’s interesting that people are interested in interacting with a plant online. I wonder if they would show the same interest if the plant was in their backyard and they would actually have to get up and take care of it.

  5. slarsonm says:

    This is an interesting use of social media to raise awareness about plant life (if in fact that’s what they’re doing, I am a bit confused myself!)

    However, it is a pretty neat idea creating a page for an object that wouldn’t interact with others in real life.

    The Zoo Group last year created a similar thing for the Komodo Dragon exhibit for the Phoenix Zoo. They created a Twitter page for the dragons, and were tweeting as the animals on display at the zoo. http://twitter.com/PhxZooDragon

    The Twitter page has over 900 followers, and I am sure has generated awareness for the giant lizard, as well as other things going on around the zoo. Tweets like “Dragons love ROCK MUSIC! Come Rock w/ us & drink your human Beer at Rock the Zoo Tomorrow- $10 discount! Call 602-914-4333 &say code TWIT10” encourage people to spend time and money at the zoo, while doing it in a fun, engaging way through giant, scary creatures. Who wouldn’t want to go visit the social media stars?

    Creating online interaction with creatures that aren’t the ones behind the computer lets both the Tweeter/Facebooker be creative and the audience be entertained. Maybe Bashkim Isai embodying a plant isn’t so bad. Maybe it’s easier for us to listen to something that isn’t too serious, yet still learn from and be entertained by it. Although I’m not sure what we will say about our society when it’s easier to interact with an online plant than people in real life. Let’s hope the plants never let us get that far.

  6. jmjohn27 says:

    At first I thought this was a joke but after thinking about it logically, I started seeing the seriousness and potential of this idea. The fact that this plant gained more than 5,000 friends in just 84 days shows the power of social media and how fast it can reach an enormous amount of people in so little time (relative to the task). And the idea is so different, which is why I think people like it so much! Your point also proves that people want the next, newest thing or trend as soon as they can get it. People these days get so tired and bored with the same PR/marketing/advertising tactics that they are becoming imune to it. In order to succeed in the future of PR, you need to be able to come up with what is the next new trend.

  7. sbfogel says:

    It takes a well-structured and organized plan to execute a social media venture as unique as the Meet Eater “friend” on Facebook. But if done right, this type of public relations could be a game changer.

    The power of social media has never been stronger, and the only way to keep up is to continue to revolutionize the ways we can use it as a communications venue. This Meet Eater has been seriously successful in its public outreach (gaining 5,000+ friends in under 100 days!) while simultaneously getting across a message about environmental issues. Making the plant into a personality really plays into the audience’s “theater of the mind” and allows a human connection to tie Bashkim Isai’s idea together.

    Social media is everchanging. In Seth Godin’s book “Tribes” he explains that while media is always progressing (from MySpace, to Facebook, to Twitter and beyond) it will always be everpresent in the public relations arena. As media professionals, it is our job to stay current, which is exactly what the Meet Eater is doing.

  8. lrstarr says:

    Very interesting. It’s a symbol of modern social media culture; life thriving on interaction and participatory culture. This plant grows as its social network expands. It is nourished by Facebook “likes!” I often feel this concept is more of a reality than one would assume. Doesn’t it sometimes feel as though we are fed by our social networks? Additionally, it is an illustration of social capital, which associates heightened worth with the increase of social networks. Very reflective of living things’ relationship with social media and the Internet, in general. Imagine a day without either.

  9. shotchk1 says:

    Ahh, more people playing with imaginary pets and animals on Facebook. I personally find these games and distractions annoying. I think you have to be careful with Facebook posts when you are targeting a broad audience. A lot of people use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends. If it becomes too cluttered with void interactions, Facebook may lose its true Facebook fanatics.
    On the other hand, I give props to the Facebook owners for branching out and letting other media interaction into their realm — something MySpace has yet to breach its cyberspace.

    • jweishar says:

      I agree. When I read this I thought it was a little ridiculous. Meet Eater isn’t something I would personally interest me, but I seem to be in the minority considering it has 5,000 fans. But, I do see the reasoning behind it–to make people feel the need to use social media. I don’t think I would need something like Meet Eater to do that though, I already log on to Facebook daily, but for others that may not be true.

Comments are closed.