I can hold my Facebook profile in the palm of my hand. It's shaped like a pink butternut squash with a top hat, no arms, and a bit of blood dripping from its teeth.
This strange creature came about through the Creators Project, a globe-hopping initiative from Intel and Vice that supports artists working through technology. The initiative has been around since 2010, but the Facebook 3D-printable figures project just started this year.
The 3D-printable Facebook project can take three different forms. There's Monster Me, which turns out a little monster. There's Crystallized, which interprets your social data as a pretty crystalline form. There's also Astroverb, which turns out a personalized visual horoscope. These are all pretty abstract concepts. Given the choice, I had to go with the monster.
The design process is pretty straightforward. The online design engine connects to your Facebook profile. For the monster, your birthday determines the shape and color. It generates a little virtual monster in a weird online world. You can populate the space with virtual buildings and little monster friends.
You are tasked with growing your monster to full size by accomplishing goals like sharing pictures of it on Facebook. If you don't want to spam your profile, there is a shortcut to make it big. Then, you have an opportunity to print out your beast using 3D printing service Shapeways.
Somehow, my green monster turned into a pink one by the time I got to the printing stage. I just went with it. Prices can vary depending on materials, but my little monster printed in full-color sandstone finish cost about $25.
The whole experience was a bit of a head-scratcher. I'm not sure what I was supposed to be doing with the little online world my monster was in. The resulting figurine is kind of cute in a blobular way, though I wonder how my Facebook profile translates into blood dripping from teeth. Was it something I said in a status update?
Despite the oddity of it all, it's cool to know my monster was generated by Sticky Monster Lab, a creative studio in Korea I would never have known about otherwise. I also like the idea of being able to hold a physical embodiment of my Facebook profile.
Like my monster, Facebook is a bit strange and a bit messy. Perhaps this weird blood-drooling creature really is the perfect vision of my Facebook life.