Meet Eater, the social networking plant that needs your friendship to grow

Meet Eater is a plant that craves social interaction. It has its own Facebook page and feeds off the love and attention its online friends provide.

"The Meet Eater wants to be touched, has a desire for social media interaction and the occasional need for quiet time. This plant is watered upon the receipt of physical interaction, when it makes friends on Facebook and when people write on its wall," explains Bashkim Isai, a student at Australia's University of Queensland and creator of the Meet Eater project.

At just 72 days old, the plant has a pretty hectic social life. It has already accrued more than 1590 friends; so many that Meet Eater is already having to request some quiet time.

"Ohh no more wall messages today. Have had a little too much to eat. I don't want to drown! Add me as a friend and talk to me in a few hours," wrote Meet Eater on its Facebook wall on September 1.

The project provides an interesting look at how social media interaction is infiltrating the everyday aspects of our lives, opening (albeit virtual) dialogues with brands, objects and living organisms.

"By retrofitting the plant with feedback mechanisms we become able to make a connection in a way previously limited to more extroverted forms of life," divulges Meet Eater's Facebook page.

If you think the project is a little far-fetched and plants should be left to grow without being pestered by social networkers, you might be surprised to learn that plants actually do their own social networking in real life too.

In November 2009 Wired Science wrote about a paper published in the American Journal of Botany written by a McMaster University biologist by the name of Susan Dudley. Dudley shows that "Impatiens pallida, a common flowering plant, devotes less energy than usual to growing roots when surrounded by relatives. In the presence of genetically unrelated Impatiens, individuals grow their roots as fast as they can."

The paper found that some plants will share their food and water with their genetically related neighbors. However, when placed next to unrelated plants, they will grow their roots as quickly as possible to ensure they get the most nutrients.

Wired's article on the social life of plants:

To check how Meet Eater is growing head to: