File this under “that’s nutty awesome.” It’s an extremely simple idea and is probably as old as ASCII itself, but turning plain text upside down has been the stuff of cyber-trickery for all of our modern age. Now, with the latest communication tool being Twitter, comes Tweact.com.
This is one of those things that despite being as old as the byte it’s based on, it never seems to lose its novelty. No matter what, it’s always going to make people look twice at what you’ve sent, even if it’s just to say “haha, how do I do that?” It’s akin to those endless forwarded emails that everyone knows is b.s., but everyone forwards anyway. Why? Because it’s still entertaining.
I could analyze why upside-down text always grabs our attention, which may explain why some ideas like this one are just endlessly entertaining to us. The look of upside down text immediately makes our brains engage. I think it’s because we’re psychologically trained to see specific shapes and sequences. That is, after all, how we read. When we’re presented with the same shapes, but in a generally unfamiliar way, we pause. Therein lies the entertainment.
I liken it to comedy. Most people listen to “brainy” comedians like Dennis Miller and feel compelled to laugh at his jokes–no matter how esoteric and almost meaningless they might be. Why? Because not laughing would make us “stupid.” That’s what I call “forced” comedy.
Then there’s slapstick, “low-brow” comedy ala Larry the Cable Guy. Many people think it’s “beneath them,” but everyone laughs at it. Even if they’re pretending not to. It’s just funny. Why? Because he’s taking something normal and twisting it into abnormality in such a way that it attacks our sensibilities. He makes racial slurs, fart noises, says stuff that’s totally obvious, but sounds goofy just because he’s saying it. That sort of thing. Nobody classifies that stuff as “genius” in any way, but it’s still funny. Every time.
Tweact is like that. It’s not new, original, or even really all that funny. But it’s still engaging and entertaining. Every time. Totally. That means it’s worth checking out and playing with.
The way it works is simple. The page loads with a Google-like plain title and box. Put in your line of text in the box and, as you type, another box with the output (upside down text) appears. Click “Tweet This” or “Facebook It” and it’s presented to your twitter.com or facebook.com page. You don’t have to give Tweact any information about you at all, it sends the data directly to the Twitter or Facebook API without your login required. You then authenticate it through the normal channels for those sites and it’s posted.
Now, of course, since what its’ sending is pure ASCII and not regular text characters, some screens won’t show it as anything more than random Chinese. Seesmic and TweetDeck, for instance, present it in blocks and dashes rather than words. On the Web, though, it looks like upside-down text.
I confess that I had fun this with one. I think you will too.