Playing With Twitter

I would use Twitter if it weren’t so brief. 140 characters? Where would that get me? Other than a few sentences into this article, I mean.

Twitter has become a means for millions of people to communicate pointlessly every day. No, even more than that. Every hour. Every second even. Within all the dross and pond-life who think that other people actually care what they ate for dinner or the adorable thing their kid just did are a few individuals worth following due to their position in life. In theory.

President Obama is the most followed person on Twitter, but it’ll be a team of people spending hours over each of ‘his’ Tweets so that’s out. Then there are celebrities. Well I don’t care about them and even if I did I still wouldn’t recommend following any of them on there because you’d just discover that they are human and therefore flawed just like the rest of us. How about branded companies or the bosses and employees of said companies? Well then you’re just metaphorically waving your hands in the air begging to be bombarded with direct marketing garbage that doesn’t need to be checked for mundane things like clarity or truthfulness.

The marketing side can sometimes be fun though, such as General Knoxx on behalf of Gearbox Software’s Borderlands which has people lining up to be insulted by a videogame character. Other times they can provide minor gaffs (that are in no way deliberate in order to garner free publicity) that the internet can blow out of proportion, such as fictional Sony VP Kevin Butler Tweeting about how boring Red Dead Redemption is.

Tweets can be beneficial – in the short term. Recently, Executive Producer Rod Fergusson announced via a Tweet that the Gears of War 2 bonus XP event that took place during the SDCC would be by an amount calculated by how many people followed him on Twitter divided by 500. After ‘underestimating’ the lure of more than eight times normal XP, he had to cut off the bonus at twenty times the normal when he quickly got over 12,000 followers. That won’t exactly hurt them when Rod starts talking about all the fun reasons you should buy Gears of War 3.

From a gaming perspective it is nice to instantly know when a new demo is out or updates on a problem or just to hear snippets from the development process. Part of what makes it so useful is that you learn these things directly and as it happens. When Aion first launched, two developers used their Twitter accounts to keep players informed about what went wrong and how the repairs were going after someone apparently opened the Arc of the Covenant in the NCsoft offices and melted every server in the building.

So Twitter has its uses and has its problems, like so many things. “Wouldn’t it be interesting,” I asked myself, “if I pretended I had signed up to Twitter?” “No”, someone standing near me replied. I ignored them.

I set myself the task of doing at least two pretend Tweets a day over the course of a week. They could only be about gaming in some way or another and had to obey the 140 character limit that Twitter imposes. What follows is the resulting collection of random musings from a gamer that usually likes to talk (or type for the pedantic amongst you) a lot more than this. The times and dates listed are accurate.

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Is the thing I’m to test in the FFXIV beta the limits of my own patience? …I’m doing well.

07:23 PM Aug 10th via This Document

My Mage in DQIX is starting to look like a cross-dressing seven year old.

11:40 PM Aug 10th via My Keyboard

Tried out the Valkyria Chronicles 2 demo. Pity it’s on PSP now, but it’s still going to be good…and under appreciated.

10:13 AM Aug 11th via Carrier Pigeon

And now to try Scott Pilgrim VS The World: The Game. The movie looks like No More Heroes with a more likeable main character.

04:42 PM Aug 11th via A Shot Messenger

Mafia 2…not a very good demo. Hey, that didn’t need many characters!

07:20 PM Aug 11th via Severed Horses’ Head

Does mentioning that I’m writing this article count as gaming related? Another draft of the opening done.

00:01 AM Aug 12th via Laptop Next To Bed

DQIX quest #071 can go to hell.

11:36 AM Aug 12th via Sea North Of Gleeba

In from work to hear about Bioshock Infinite. That sums it up. Milk that cow for all its worth. If blood starts coming out just keep going.

20:09 PM Aug 12th via High Horse

Anamanaguchi is basically what you’d get if Dragonforce composed Mega Man stages.

09:44 AM Aug 13th via Google Search

Deus Ex 3 gameplay reveal trailer…looks good. I want it now. Sooner than now. Yesterday.

16:15 PM Aug 13th via Secured Location

Why does the map of the Starlight Express interior look so much like an erection?

00:04 AM Aug 14th via DS Game That Should Be Rated 18+

A morning of FFXIV, an afternoon of work, and an evening of recording WFC. Help.

18:29 PM Aug 14th via Tweetdeck (not really)

Replaying R6: Vegas 2 to help a friend with various achievements today. Wasn’t this interesting?

11:04 AM Aug 15th via Secure Connection

Damn, I forgot how aim-botish the AI is on Realistic difficulty.

15:21 PM Aug 15th via Respawn Timer

Met a friend I hadn’t seen for 8 years today. Shout out to Huw. Uh, games, games, aren’t Xboxs’ swell?

18:06 PM Aug 16th via Suspicious Circumstances

Had to pass up interviewing Fred Hasson due to other commitments. Now I can’t ask him what it’s like to have a name a bit like a font.

20:57 PM Aug 16th via 01010100011001

Given all the lag I’m getting lately I can’t help thinking the internet is conspiring to give me a plausible excuse for playing poorly.

00:29 AM Aug 17th via Snail’s Pace

I’m opening the article for the last time before handing it in.

09:55 AM Aug 17th via OpenOffice

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How did I do? It doesn’t feel so dirty Tweeting about gaming rather than, say, my breakfast, that sore bit on my shoulder, or that funny thing my dog did just now while I was trying to type this sentence. I guess that’s because at least there is an inherent interest in the subject among people likely to see it and it doesn’t feel quite so narcissistic as a result. To mention playing a game or something about a game or something in a game would never be as egocentric as doing the equivalent of standing in the middle of a crowded park and shouting out things that have happened to you at the top of your lungs because you think everyone needs to hear it.

It’s very hard not to fall into stereotypical habits though. Even before considering trying a little Twitter experiment I had long since realised that I’ve been using the bulletin system on You Tube in much the same way (no character limit over there – sorry to my subscribers). It is human nature to want to share information and receive it no matter how asinine or insignificant it might be.

With the experiment out the way I thought I was done. If nothing else, I had proven how boring my gaming Tweets would be. But pretend Tweets are one thing and the real Twitter experience is another. Through these pretend entries I didn’t experience what it was like to have followers or to follow other people. When discussing this article with the head editor a gauntlet was thrown down.

You should make a real account. It only takes two minutes and then you can follow people like Cliffy B – the guy makes about a thousand Tweets a day,” my editor said.

Oh, doesn’t that sound fun? No. However I will not turn down a challenge and perhaps this way I will be able to find out just what is so appealing about Twitter to so many millions of people.

And on that note let’s have some shameless self promotion:

http://twitter.com/Critical_Gamer/

http://twitter.com/GamerIanD/

To be continued.

Probably.

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Written by Ian D

Misanthropic git. Dislikes: Most things. Likes: Obscure references.

2 comments

  1. KrazyFace /

    Well, I gotta say, I just did the whole twitter thing after reading this and I’m not impressed. Maybe if it had accepted my number then I could’ve linked up to this site and I’d be happy, but it wouldn’t take my number so I just deleted myself from it.

    I’ve no interest in any celebrities, and couldn’t care less about when some Joe Bloggs stranger washes their hair, spills their milk or whatever other drivel they might think will set my world alight. This seems like the most pointless use of the internet I’ve witnessed so far.

  2. Michael J /

    I don’t really ‘get’ twitter, I have an account and follow a few interesting people (Tim Schafer is always a good choice), but there’s some kind of disconnect in my brain that can’t quite fathom what twitter does, why it’s so popular and how I should be using it properly.

    I know a couple of people who tweet constantly throughout the day as though twitter is some kind of shared intellectual space where likeminded people are connected in conversation in a less crass or personal way than facebook.

    But yeah, I don’t understand it really, It’s difficult to get excited about someone elses breakfast menu.

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