Civic News

This Drexel prof says Twitter is uncivil. So he’s projecting your tweets on a building

It's the latest large-scale collision of the digital and real worlds by Dr. Frank Lee, in partnership with Gossamer Games, for the 10th annual Philly Tech Week presented by Comcast.

Civic Dialog tweets projected onto Drexel's Nesbitt Hall.

(Courtesy image)

Frank Lee just has a thing for building-sized digital interactive games.

You may remember the cofounder of Drexel University’s Game Design Program for his Guinness-certified world’s largest video games: when he and his team put Pong and Tetris on the Cira Centre for Philly Tech Week in 2013 and 2014.

For the 10th annual (which kicks off today), he has an even higher purpose in mind. He wants to tackle civility online. Yeah, he’s an ambitious guy. Along with Gossamer Games founder Tom Sharpe, Lee is projecting civil dialogue on a building in University City on Thursday.

They’re calling the project — wait, for it — Civil Dialog.

It is funded by the Knight Foundation and, in addition to timing with Philly Tech Week, Lee is working with WHYY’s Radio Times to engender a conversation about, well, just why are we so damn mean to each other online.


This week, during #PTW20, questions will go up — @civil_dialog and by other online notables — that encourage thoughtful responses. Questions like “Have you stopped talking to friends/family because of differing beliefs? ” and “What is something about technology that gives you hope for the future?”

If you respond to one of the questions this week and are, you know, civil, you have a good shot of having your tweet projected onto seven-story Nesbitt Hall on Drexel’s campus Thursday night. Also, you will have crossed a rather low bar of adulthood, which, nonetheless, does appear to need confirmation.

Earlier this month, I spoke to Lee and Sharpe about the project — which they got a first crack at in August and which is not the only way they’re collaborating this year.

P.S. Lee is up for Technical Leader of the Year in the 2020 Awards. Voting closes today and winners will be announced during PTW’s Signature Event this Thursday.

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