A few months ago, I noticed that my fiddle-leaf fig plant was growing behind my back. Not that it needs my permission — but since I had always thought of it basically as an inanimate object that I had to water once a week, it caught me by surprise.
Watching the dramatic growth playing out over a few days was unexpectedly thrilling. And there was something special to capturing it in a photo, even just on my iPhone camera. I wanted to see its progress every day. Wouldn’t it be nice, I thought, if I had a computer automatically take a picture of my plant for me every morning?
So that’s what I did. I made @grow_slow, which is a bot running on a Raspberry Pi that takes a webcam photo of my plant at 10:17 am every day and tweets it.
Now, watching your plant grow on Twitter is like texting your roommate from the other end of the couch. But I believe that there’s a meditative magic to combining the slow pace of plant growth and the rapid clip of the internet. It’s unusual to see things that move at this speed on the web, but @grow_slow follows the philosophy of the Slow Web, making it interesting only over the course of time.
My little fiddle-leaf fig isn’t the only tweeting plant — there’s now also @avocamera by Anthony Volodkin, which tweets photos of two avocado plants based on sunrise and sunset times. But let’s make more.
The Twitter bot is pretty simple to set up for your own plant, so I’m here to tell you how to do it.
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