Made by Jonathan Merrin

The goal is to provoke a response by changing my profile on a social media platform. I intend to use confusion as my main source of provocation.

Created: September 19th, 2015


I intend to act bizarrely on a social media platform and see how people respond to me being out of the norm. Specifically, until the assignment is due, I plan on flipping my profile photo upside down and reversing the letters in my name. Also, when people ask me about it I intend to respond in backwards writing. After that, in a separate place, I intend to change my photo not to myself and type in a different language.

My friends on Facebook expect strange behavior from me when I act, and are not surprised by normal behavior because it's normal, so Facebook did not seem like a good platform for me for this project. Instead, I'll be using groupme, where people expect me to communicate normally. I'll see how people respond when I enter into a conversation as not a normal contributor, or if they choose to ignore it, how long I can keep up the charade.



I chose for my project to change to a different style of speech on Groupme. I decided to get a group of people that I knew well and a group that I did not to see how fundamentally different it would be. In both groups I changed my profile picture to a Neopet named Spunkykins, and assumed different speaking patterns for each group.

In the group I knew I spoke only in Hebrew. I changed my name to Hebrew characters and sent messages responding normally to messages in Hebrew, and prepared the other group in the same way.

The most challenging part was getting noticed. The reason I worked in the linguistic changes was because nobody took notice of just the changed picture.


I used Groupme on my iPhone, took the picture off Neopets, and used a Hebrew keyboard.


The response was varied. Those that I was closer with responded a lot more positively than those I did not. They just went with it. Those that were bilingual also changed their names and languages, and people just used Google Translate or ignored it.

The ones who knew me less well, however, did not respond as well. One person quit the group entirely. Others complained that I was making an already difficult school even more difficult. That said, there were a couple who accepted the challenge. One person wrote to me in binary, another in Klingon.


I expected the response I got from my friends. They know me well and were not surprised by my shenanigans. I was surprised by some of their lack of response, but I knew no one would outwardly condemn the behavior.

I did not at all expect the responses I got from the group that doesn’t know me as well. It started off with some positive and some negative responses, very quickly leading into anger.

Translation of Hexadecimal: !nodnarB ,no er'uoY
Img 0399 %281%29.thumb

I learned that it is much more acceptable to break social norms with friends than acquaintances. Of the acquaintances I have, those more receptive to my behavior were those who knew me better, though I’ve known none of them for more than three weeks. I learned that even though people could ignore the way I was speaking, either because it was easy to read or because I was not saying anything important or pertaining to them, they chose to get upset about me breaking the social norms in a public way, to the point where one person left a group he was obligated to be in just to get away from it.

If I could do it again, I'd try to make the project more subtle. I'd like to see what would happen if the change was less obvious, or at least less immediately intolerable. I think I also should have been more standard with my methods across my friends and acquaintances. While I feel I more or less hit on the same point, I know I could've been more precise in my methods.

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The goal is to provoke a response by changing my profile on a social media platform. I intend to use confusion as my main source of provocation.