Why the Car That Runs on Facebook Could Backfire Horribly
Being a teenager is hands down the worst of the human larval stages -- you have no rights, you have tons of responsibilities, and your own genitals are trying to kill you. On top of that, you have the emotional awareness of a cat. It's a fucking nightmare.
And if there was ever a perfect hub for all of those teenage struggles, it would be that iconic first car. It covers all the bases of growing up -- it's a symbol of responsibilities and freedom, parental worry, money, and obtaining popularity, and most of all, it's a place to screw discretionarily. The ability to drive, or share a car with friends, is a pivotal rite of passage for most.
That's why it only makes sense that teenagers would be the ones to invent the perfect metaphor for adolescent struggle -- as well as modern youth culture -- in the form of a car.
That beauty there is a fully restored electric-powered 1967 VW Karmann Ghia, designed and built by a not-for-profit group called Minddrive for the purpose of raising awareness for unconventional learning organizations. It was put together by a group of Kansas City high school kids as an after-school program.
It's also powered exclusively by "social media." Literally.
This is how life support machines should work.
It works like this -- the battery installed in the vehicle will only permit the car to run a certain amount of time, depending on how many tweets, Facebook likes, Instagram follows, and YouTube plays it gets. The plan is to drive it all the way from Kansas City to Washington, D.C., on online viral appeal alone.
In other words, its success is completely dependent on its popularity ... just like a high school kid.
Only with a lot fewer emissions.
Hell, even the promo video for the car begins with interviews of the high school kids behind it talking about the pressures imposed by teachers and the struggle to fit in with others. And now, ironically enough, this car is exactly that. It's a machine that literally runs on the approval of others -- aka total strangers -- in order to get to where it wants to go. It's fueled by superficial attention.
It won't do anything unless someone is paying attention to it, despite the fact that it technically always has the ability to function. After all, the battery is fine. It's just choosing to underperform if it's not liked enough. This makes it maybe the first car ever engineered with the ability to mope.
Those batteries look downright suicidal.
After using their formidable intelligence and technical skills to create an Angstmobile, the teens were smart enough to get themselves some sponsors, just in case the Internet discovers a new video of a duck walking with people shoes and loses interest.
And that's the best case scenario if they find themselves idling just outside of Louisville -- what if the Internet uses its collective powers for evil and begins organizing an ostracization campaign to maroon these kids in a Waffle House parking lot? That's right -- this is also a car with the capacity to be bullied. This has the potential to be the most difficult-to-watch moment in automotive history since Herbie: Fully Loaded.
The game is over if Herbie gets addicted to Xanax.