• 05.15.12

Plinko Game Creates Poetry Using Tweets From Fox News And NYT

Bob Barker meets Jon Stewart in a cutting commentary about our media diets.

Plinko Game Creates Poetry Using Tweets From Fox News And NYT

Ever since magnetic poetry permeated dorm room refrigerators everywhere, wordsmithing has never been the same. The once eloquent haiku had been deconstructed into mix and match sentiments for the half-sober.


Why I don’t know how
Blurry, fleeting, brusque, blue, sweet
Life was love Red Bull

Now a team of NYU masters students, Inessah Selditz and Deqing Sun, has taken the idea of insta-poetry to its next logical steps: media satire and game shows. Called Plinko Poetry–a nod to the famous Price Is Right game–users drop a plastic disc down rows of pegs, and as the disc bounces down its unpredictable path, the disc determines a random sampling of words pulled from the latest Fox and New York Times tweets.

The idea makes you smile. But it’s also a cutting commentary on our media. Plinko Poetry produces gems like “Over ‘survivalist’ loopholes NFL paranormal Bribes,” or “Shopping allegations Island, Fido’s Up Fugitives extortion,” or maybe my favorite “Camel-Jumpers gay A.P. capsules Suit agents Airstrike fun”–what you quickly realize are distillations of the most incendiary and sensationalist words our media uses to promote its own stories, spawned through the silliest of games that has absolutely no concern for its own outcome.

The results are a lot like one of those bot-controlled Twitter accounts gone haywire, but instead of being driven by at least some sort of coded logic, its words are dictated by perfectly orchestrated complete lack thereof. Plinko Poetry is engineered absurdly to show us our own absurdity. And I must admit, it’s a bit humbling to know that my own next self-promotional tweet will probably be chock-full of words ripe for Plinkoing. But at least I’ve finally grown out of my haiku phase.

Follow Plinko Poetry on twitter (@plinkopoetry).

[Hat tip: Creative Applications]

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started, a simple way to give back every day.