Dot Experiment •2
One could view it as immature to debut the next chapter of The Dot Experiment at the exact moment the Twitter account hit 420 followers while following 69 accounts. One might begin to wonder if this was the sole goal of The Dot Experiment. Maybe. But in the time it takes to organically grow a following of hundreds, I've learned a lot about what The Dot Experiment is — and more importantly — what it can (and will) be.
First, a history lesson. "Dot Experiment" is a play on the phrase "thought experiment." Since I was not keen on putting my name and face on social media, the original goal of the account was to see if individuals and organizations would be willing to take an anonymous dot on the Internet seriously.
The answer turned out to be a resounding "yes, usually!" And what's better, The Dot Experiment has enabled me to form friendships and make connections that I never would have had otherwise, and in a relatively short timespan to boot. For this reason and more that I'll explain later, The Dot Experiment has a new tagline which will double as an overarching goal:
The topic of the account has varied over time, but the most successful niche turned out to be Charlotte-focused urbanism and current events. Since I, creator of The Dot Experiment, have a deep-seated interest in city building, community, and sustainability, these topics are easy for me to channel through the account. But I have interests beyond urbanism! I'm human! Art, minimalism, travel, food, charity, education, fitness, nature, meditation, and most notably — optimism.
You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.
– Steve Jobs –
In the past, The Dot Experiment has reflected a handful of my other interests, but I think of the account as having a persona of its own. It's a brand. Inhuman. The challenge with maintaining a brand is that brands handle like ocean liners; they take a lot of effort to change course. Not everyone will like the new course, which requires even more adjustment. Steering the ship requires careful consideration and delicate balance.
Which brings us to today.
I would like to steer this ocean liner so that it is more in line with me and my interests, more relatable, and more resilient to changing trends. And, with luck, I will do this in a way that doesn't alienate the wonderful following the account has already amassed.
Enter Dot Experiment •2
•2 (pronounced "dot two") consists of four main components:
- Dot Org
- The Dot Exhibition
- Cars First
- Shop Dot
First and foremost, as I pondered the future of The Dot Experiment, I noticed that many of the goals I was outlining had a charitable backbone. Because of this, I want to give these charitable efforts a brand of their own. Enter: Dot Org.
The specifics still need to be worked out, but I think of this project as so fundamental to The Dot Experiment's evolution that I couldn't wait any longer to introduce it.
Soon you will be able to pledge a vote of confidence in this experiment by subscribing to The Dot Experiment for $7.04 per month. 100% of these contributions (less platform fees) will fund Dot Org projects. The first 50 contributors will have their contributions matched by me personally (every month!). All contributors will be considered Dot Org board members for as long as they pledge their support and subsequently granted access to a private Discord community.
If this is something that interests you, I encourage you to follow @704org on Twitter.
The Dot Exhibition
The Dot Exhibition is nothing more than a collection of my photography. Many years ago I left the Instagram platform and have stood by the decision to do so more and more ever since. I've bounced from service to service seeking a permanent home for my photos, ultimately settling on a combination of hosting my own site and photographer-focused social media service, Glass.
The ultimate goal of The Dot Exhibition is to connect to the community with a real-life exhibition in a gallery space, featuring Charlotte photographers other than myself. But for now, that is a distant goal. Today, the goal is to give my photos a permanent home online, and share them apart from the main Dot Experiment account.
If this is something that interests you, I encourage you to follow @dotexhibition on Twitter and/or Glass.
Cars First was the first experiment to spin off the original Dot Experiment account and has since garnered an enthusiastic and active community that focuses on documenting and amplifying the all-too-common issue of motorists prioritizing themselves above more efficient modes of transport in the Queen City, be it walking, bicycling, or public transit.
In an effort to amplify these efforts, Cars First will periodically feature a contumacious motorist from elsewhere in the world in an effort to expand the Cars First audience and subsequently shine an even brighter spotlight on the widespread traffic mismanagement in Charlotte. And with a keen emphasis on doing this without inundating Charlotte followers with a volume of content they didn't sign up for.
If this is something that interests you, I encourage you to follow @CarsFirst on Twitter.
All of this is meant to shape a future where The Dot Experiment is less a representation of myself and more a representation of the Queen City and the individual people that call it home; an ambassador of sorts. To reach this vision, the familiar "7●4" motif will be co-opted into something that people can use as a reflection of themselves.
The Brand that Started It All
A Dot Experiment line of stickers and miscellaneous urban gear. Sales from this catalog will primarily help to keep the lights on.
I'm currently working with several urban activism groups and individuals in Charlotte to design a Cars First-themed line of stickers and apparel. 100% of the profits generated by these products will directly fund the future endeavors of these groups.
Eventually, Shop Dot will be open to a curated selection of local artists and artisans to host their work.
Shop Dot will be up and running in about a month.
All of this is just the beginning. There's ample room for growth and virtually unlimited avenues for The Dot Experiment and Dot Org to give back to the people and organizations that made (and continue to make) this city great.