Twitter is a text adventure game. The owners of the software control the rules, the user’s create the fiction and game-play is created though interactions with it. It’s a really popular game with players who assume similar charaters to those you’d find in any massive-multiplayer – the hero, the healer, the scout, the opportunist etc.,
A good virtual world is changed each time we enter it. This is sort of why educational-games are so awful, they don’t change.
The avatar you inhabit in Twitter, the agency it provides is as fictional an unreal as Warcraft’s Azeroth – and so are the characters. It’s fun while your mind processes information it finds satisfying. What is less discussed is that this is the hall-marks of social-engineering complete with in-equality ability to reduce the possible variance as it tinkers with rules (user names, banning countries and messages or blacking out communication etc.,). I can’t honestly say that I’d recommend Twitter as place I’d promote to what I see as ‘second wave’ adopters, who are more interested in quality than quantity – and here’s why.
Costonova said social game worlds are built around three common principles that apparently contribute strongly to their popularity. This seem all too real in Twitter.
The first principle is division of labor: Agents seem to desire avatars with unique abilities, by which they can provide individualized contributions to avatar society. The second principle is equality of opportunity: Agents seem to enjoy a rags-to-riches storyline, in which everyone starts out very weak and very poor, but then has the opportunity to advance through the application of time and skill to game play. The third principle is inequality of outcomes based on merit only: Agents seem to prefer game mechanisms that grant advantages of wealth and power only to avatars who have performed more meritorious actions (where “merit” is admittedly hard to define – working long hours at the game, being socially or politically skillful, etc.). Together, these three principles attempt to provide diversity, equality, and meritocracy, and this seems to be the most desired kind of society.
Perhaps Twitter for me has become a different experience. I find myself feeling as though I need to spend more and more time sifting though quantity (those with a profit-agenda) to find quality. I’m finding the difference between Twitter and News-print classified-small-adds is just scrolling – and yet people are still ‘shouting’ out at conferences about Twitter to ‘new teachers’ as though it’s still 2007 – when Twitter was actually about more than farming your audience.