The Listening Cloud is a data-driven light sculpture that visualizes social media conversation in real-time. Whenever tweets, hashtags, likes or comments occur about whatever the cloud is programmed to monitor, it storms with multi-colored lightning that corresponds to the different social media channels. A web interface allows viewers to choose what the cloud is "listening to", displays a raw feed of the data it's processing, and features a key to understand what the lights signify.

The cloud was created by a group of creative and technology associates at RPA: Bradley Stone, Perrin Anderson, Hobart Birmingham and Dave Brezinski. The idea behind it is to show what's happening in the social media 'cloud' in real-time, not as data or a visualization on a screen, but as a fun, simple, sensory, physical thing. As an installation in the RPA lobby, it creates a continuous display of the buzz around client brands.

The current cloud is a prototype and we plan to explore its possibilities and evolve further iterations. But we also want to see what others might come up with, so we've put together a DIY how-to video and zip file of materials and code that people can download here.