Last week @cocacolaco handed me the ‘reigns’ to lead a live chat on #smallworldmachines. Thanks to the many people whom tweeted and re-tweeted questions and comments, we shared new parts of the small world story with over 7 million users.

The positive response to the work has been truly overwhelming. Many of the comments we’ve heard are personal, and moving. “My father was born in Lahore, and came to India during the Partition. He would have loved this.” “I would like one in Afghanistan, so they can learn we are not so different.” “Come to South Africa, we can do with a little help connecting.”

The most popular question I get is, “What was it like being there?” And, “What was your favorite moment?”

The truth is this project took well over a year to move from an idea on paper to reality in New Delhi and Lahore. And we almost failed – multiple times.

Our greatest challenge was getting the technology to work. The day both machines were set up we still hadn’t secured the broadband connection required to connect them, and we weren’t positive we ever would. We were calm, but we were all on edge.

As crowds gathered, the machines finally started to make connection. The live stream flickered on/off, connected/disconnected. And finally, the connection held still. We were looking into Lahore; our team in Lahore was looking back at us. We were wide eyed in disbelief. I can’t quite describe that feeling. A teammate told me he felt the same way as when his wife told him she was pregnant.

We weren’t the only ones excited. The people around us were curious, and eager to take a look. We worked to give everyone his or her own special moment, and from there the unexpected unraveled in the most magical way.

A family approached the machine, a little girl insistent that she ‘touch hands.’ Her father lifted her up to do so. They said hello to another family in Lahore.

Two older men were fed a prompt to dance with each other, and without hesitation broke out into emphatic twirls. The crowd rallied them on for almost 3 minutes. Out of breath, they stopped dancing and waved hello.

Two teenagers had a ‘dance off.’ The crowd erupted in cheers.

A group of hesitant teenage girls touched hands with another group of girls. They traced a peace sign and waved to each other.

Two teenage boys touched hands, smiled, and snapped pictures of each other.

An older woman touched hands with an older man. They traced a smiley face and looked at each other in astonishment.

Jackie on the phone with the team in Lahore.

Jackie on the phone with the Coca-Cola team in Lahore as she views them in the Small World Machine.

A small girl couldn’t wait for her turn. She ran toward the machine, jumped to reach the ‘touch hands’ spot, and high fived an older woman in Lahore. We held our breath and hoped the machine wouldn’t fall over.

Toward the end I called Moiz, Saad, and Maria, from our Coke Pakistan team, and met them in front of the machine to wave and smile myself – my own small world machines moment.

From old to young, individuals to groups, one after the other, each exchange left all of us in awe.

After hours of greetings, we pumped up music on both sides and danced. It was a surreal, magical, joyful finale – to a moment in time where we forgot anything that made us ‘different,’ and celebrated everything that made us human!

For those of us there, it was a special Coca-Cola moment that we will never forget.

In case you missed the live chat on Twitter, here are some of my favorite tweets from the session.

Jackie responding to tweets during the #SmallWorldMachines Twitter chat


#smallworldmachines Twitter Chat

#smallworldmachines Twitter Chat

#smallworldmachines Twitter Chat









#smallworldmachines Twitter Chat

#smallworldmachines Twitter Chat

#smallworldmachines Twitter Chat

#smallworldmachines Twitter Chat

#smallworldmachines Twitter Chat

There were a few questions I missed during the chat, so here are answers to those ones:

#smallworldmachines Twitter Chat

@neilbedwell: The biggest challenge was getting the #smallworldmachines to work! Live! Connected! Synchronized! We weren’t sure we would make it happen, but we got lucky. :)

#smallworldmachines Twitter Chat

@heather_chappel: We’ve seen real conversation happen around the power of India and Pakistan connecting in more positive ways – and the rest of the world connecting, too.

#smallworldmachines Twitter Chat

@christyamador: A good friend of mine told me, in tears, how meaningful the story was to her and her family. To be a part of something that touches real people in that way is simply unreal.

#smallworldmachines Twitter Chat

@chomiperdomo: We’d love to, and we’ll add that to our list!

#smallworldmachines Twitter Chat

@Kate_McLaughlin: Greatest hurdle was the technology…high broadband, two new cities, synchronized and connected technology, that had never been used…a big puzzle to piece together.

Jackie Jantos Tulloch is global creative director at Coca-Cola, and led the #smallworldmachines project. Follow her at @laneythecat.