You may be less inclined to purchase that afternoon chocolate fix if your vending machine publicly tweeted every time you did it.
A group of programmers and hackers in the UK decided to test out a “tweeting vending machine” to see if it would spur office workers into healthier eating habits. With a vending machine bought off eBay, the hackers programmed it to automatically tweet purchase details to a member-only social media account, notifying everyone in the office when someone buys a candy bar.
Initially, the office workers were amused by the experiment. “People got angry — playfully — with the Twitter account that sends the messages,” James Hayward a trustee at Nottingham Hackspace, told Fast Company. “They’d say things like, ‘I thought this was our secret, why are you telling everyone I bought snacks?’”
“It would tweet something like ‘Daniel has bought a confectionary from the vending machine for 50p’ or ‘Daniel has bought crisps from the vending machine,’” Hayward continued.
However, soon enough, the hackers had to shut down the automatic tweets because it was annoying people. If you bought a candy bar every day at 4 p.m. as your pick-me-up, you might get frustrated seeing your daily junk food habits exposed. But Hayward wonders if the experiment could be spread to other offices, where it may encourage employees to eat healthier.
There’s also such a thing as healthy food vending machines; for example, the Garvey Food Court in Chicago features a vending machine that provides fresh salads and vegetables instead of your typical packaged chips or candy bars. It’s known as Farmer’s Fridge and was created by 27-year-old Luke Sanders, who turned down a raise and promotion to instead focus his energies on designing a fresh food vending machine.
Maybe we wouldn’t be so opposed to a tweeting salad vending machine that advertises and publicizes our healthy choices, instead of our fast food ones.