Conversational Technologies: Tag Cloud Hats

Helping you network, by making you look ridiculous.

Last year at Barcamp Sheffield 2.1, I undertook an experiment in icebreaking. The idea was inspired by tag stickers I saw at an SI camp meetup in London. Essentially the idea was to see whether if we could view peoples interests as tags taking shape as thoughts or speech bubbles, would it stimulate conversation and help break the ice and identify common interests.


The idea was seeded at last minute, recruiting volunteers, and extroverts like @thehodge to wear some cloud hats, and start mingling. I also announced what I was doing and where people could get them.

Turns out I could’ve done with a better production line as people embraced the concept. Whilst not everybody opted for the hats, enough were seeded to give a comic like appearance to the scene in the room. People adapted the clouds to their personalitys, some even creating beautiful illustrations.  It personally led me to discover some hidden  I did interests that I might not have touched upon in the conversation, but I can’t speak for how it affected everybody. I did however note 2 delegates at Unsheffield who had brought their own ready made tag cloud hats made from attaching speech bubbles to sticks this year.

If you want to do your own test, details on how you can make tag cloud hats can be found below. If you try it out, please keep me posted on how it worked for you.


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3 thoughts on “Conversational Technologies: Tag Cloud Hats”

  1. What a brilliant idea! I’m surprised people went for something so silly, but in the safe space of a BarCamp, it’s not entirely surprising. How can we make such objects comfortable inside less well-defined spaces?


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