oCat continuously monitors cat related online activity. Using Google’s YouTube API, a server collects data regarding popular and new cat videos. A device, the oCat News Distractor, a Twitter bot, Kitty o’Cat (@ocatkitty), and a website, oCat, use this data to generate a data visualization and tweets and to play random videos. The aim of the project is to both increase and reveal the amount of time people spend on watching cat videos.
The oCat News Distractor visualizes the amount of new cat-video views. It monitors the 25 most popular cat videos, counts their views and stamps a paw print on a timeline every 1000 new video views. The timeline consists of current news collected from various RSS feeds. Every minute a thermal printer prints a new section containing a timestamp, source and headline.
The paw prints stamped by the altered Maneki-neko are meant to cover the headlines to an extent that makes them hard to read, demonstrating how cat content can distract from more serious online content. The stamped timeline piles up on the ground in front of the device, allowing to investigate the recent past. An LCD-screen on the device displays the current number of views the 25 most popular cat videos have collected since midnight.
The Twitter bot, Kitty o’Cat, unremittingly tweets about cat videos. Every six hours it posts a regular update, choosing the most interesting change within the last six hours to tweet about. This can be the number of new uploads, the amount of new views today, or a specific video that has gotten a remarkable amount of views during the day. Between the regular updates, there is a chance the bot tweets about remarkable changes in the data or picks a random video to tweet about. These irregular tweets are limited to maximum three per day.
The website, oCat, is a platform to binge watch cat videos. It randomly selects and plays new or popular cat videos.