The Tweets of Pennsylvania Avenue

Tweets dominate politics these days, but there was also a day a few years ago when tweets literally dominated Pennsylvania Avenue.

The tweets were printed down Pennsylvania Avenue during the night of May 17, 2012, and remained during most of the next day. Most people walked and drove by the tweets with no idea of why they were there.

The tweets were the work of ONE, the global advocacy group fighting hunger and poverty. ONE designed the tweet campaign to raise public awareness before the 2012 G8 summit.

ONE asked people to send them 40-character messages, and they then selected some of them to print.

The car of Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire drives over the tweets.

ONE ended up using about a thousand tweets that people sent, both on Pennsylvania Avenue and then in the roads in Maryland around Camp David, the location of the G8 summit. Among the tweets submitted from the public, here’s a succinct one that Nancy Pelosi sent: “3 priorities-children, children & children”

The tweets were printed by a robotic “Street Tweeter”, basically a giant ink-jet printer on wheels hauled by a truck. You can see it in action in this video:

The US will again host the G8 (now G7) conference this summer at Camp David, and while we don’t know what sort of advocacy or protests there will be in advance of the conference, there undoubtedly will be many.

All photos copyright Victoria Pickering

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