Project 4: Vegetable of the Month

The Vegetable of the Month: a means of highlighting and showcasing the best of the best in the world of vegetables. Facts and figures (of dubious veracity) about everybody’s favourite vegetables and legumes, accompanied by assorted merchandise on a rotating basis. There’s a gag about crop rotation in there somewhere.

That's no moon
That’s no moon

What – Project 4

This is a social media/online store project, where we are able to produce silly vege-themed bits of merch and content without having to worry about producing the inventory ourselves! (Thank you Zazzle!) Though it does require monthly upkeep. Each month, a different vegetable is highlighted, scheduled in advance, with tweets sent out at irregular intervals; this model can possibly be replicated with other themes – fruit, animals, elements, hats, pastries and desserts.

Monthly process:

  • Find appropriate Creative Commons licensed images;
  • Process the image using Inkscape to trace and posterise or otherwise stylize the image;
  • Upload the image to the Zazzle store;
  • Create and update a range of Zazzle merchandise;
  • Schedule regular trivia, factoid and fact tweets over the course of the month using Twando, through the connected twitter account (@RealVegetables) each one linking back to the Zazzle page;
  • Optionally schedule Graphical posts using Buffer at launch, +8 hours, +24 hours, +48 hours, +72 hours, +1 week, +2 weeks, +3 weeks (8 tweets including images);
  • Update the ifttt.com recipe to search for the relevant vegetable;

When

Monthly activity to ensure that sufficient tweets are scheduled for the coming period – ideally handled well in advance so that there is no pressing deadline at the end of the month. The first six months of vegetable images and tweets have been set up and scheduled. This means that this project is self-sufficient until early next year.

The scheduler that is used to drive the twando installation provides status reports on a weekly basis, or if it encounters issues, so this is largely self managing.

How

The same centralised installation of Twando that supports many of the 101 projects is the core of this project as it relies on a steam of tweets to drive, entice and cajole traffic to the Zazzle store.

Twando is an open source, freely available tool that allows forward scheduling of tweets, connected to multiple accounts, with the ability to bulk upload a forward schedule using simple CSV files; it is the tool of choice behind the scenes of any of the 101 projects that require forward scheduling of tweets, independent of other scheduled activities, such as forward scheduled WordPress posts.

Images are edited using Inkscape to produce stylised and vaguely, minimally artistic versions of the source images – the aim is not for great artistic endeavour, but for an ironic, casual style. A Zazzle store containing products featuring each of the monthly vegetables.

[Edit: the original plan involved using ifttt.com, to automatically retweet mentions of the specific vegetable of the month. This was removed as the volume was impractical and swamped the main “message” of the tweets.]

Review

Quarterly to ensure that it is still working and receiving some level of response.


Feature image sourced from Rick Ligthelm, via Flickr.com

jon Written by:

As half of the team behind 101projects101days.com, I am a serial starter of things, beginner of projects. I work in bits and in bytes, in words and paragraphs; I work in wood, metal, and paper, in fabric and in leather; I work in fits and in starts. Most of all I work intermittently and inconsistently.

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