A student project concerning status and persona in social networks. A crown with four categories: Single, Straight, Sober, and ? - each with an embedded LED. The crown is intended for real world social interactions - in the case of their classic Facebook demographic - probably parties. By changing the pattern of lights one can broadcast that aspect of their persona to anyone in the room, making it easier for people to meet who they want to meet and express fundamental facts about themselves without opening their mouths.
The object critiques the limits of the online profile and status updates - changes to interests and status updates don't accurately describe a person, and the form itself is flawed from the beginning. Seeing someone in the physical world using these vague and limited definitions to describe themselves highlights this absurdity.
The Facebook crown is a funny project (and interesting, there's a guide to program one yourself) but it may be more accurate than the creators intended. With the growing ubiquity of smart phones and mobile Facebook and Twitter, we're already broadcasting our status and our info around the room. Your physical self at a party and your online self are not that far apart. If you are sober or straight, chances are that someone in the room will have figured it out from your online activity without even making eye contact. Your profile information may not be accessible to strangers but we're making very conscious decisions about how to present ourselves in ways that grow easier to view anywhere, all the time.
I think the class behind the crown makes a good point, that a profile page and web-specific activity do not come near to giving a good picture of a person. But seeing the wide variety of ways people customize their profiles and use social networking sites offers a lot of information that doesn't exist on a surface level. Divining a near stranger's personality from their online history has become a fine art among our generation.
I remember when Facebook began rolling out its rudimentary status updates - options were just about as limited as those on the crown, confined to standard college student activities (Chris is at a party, Chris is studying, etc.). The site has become easier to customize, more personal, and more encouraging of self-expression since then, even as Facebook swelled in size and the original demographic, college students, saw its user share shrink to less than a quarter of the site.
While I agree with the sentiments of the Facebook crown, I have a feeling that what we write into little boxes on the Internet will keep taking an important place in our social lives.