Posted by: Stenros | September 10, 2009

BackChatter

I played BackChatter at Digra. It is a pervasive conference game, sort of like a combination of Bullshit Bingo and Twitter. The conference is divided into 14 rounds (based on the paper sessions) and before each round one is supposed to bet on three words that one thinks will be most used during the next round on Twitter (using the conference hash tag #digra09). Complete rules here.

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The game was surprisingly fun – especially as the game also counts the words the one who bet uses. This means that you could test the limits of grief play by including your own words in your tweet and try to push others to reply using the same ones. (This also meant that there were messages that were undecipherable for those who were not aware of the game.) This was the third conference where the game was run. It is still being fine-tuned, I hope, as there were numerous problems with it (missing some tweets all the way through, the game engine going off the rails in the last two rounds). Once all the teething problems are sorted, I can see this game becoming common in conference backchannels.

"Twitter is like Ozymandias' wall of tv's in Watchmen. You don't read every tweet, but from the whole you can absorb the zeitgeist." - Mike Pohjola, on Twitter, obviously

"Twitter is like Ozymandias' wall of tv's in Watchmen. You don't read every tweet, but from the whole you can absorb the zeitgeist." - Mike Pohjola, on Twitter, obviously

It can be debated if this game distracted from following the presentations at the conference. On the one hand I realized – especially when I was feeling a little tired – that it was easier to concentrate primarily on the Twitter game and secondarily on the presentation. On the other hand I have a much better grasp of what was presented in the conference now that I played the game – I went through the program quite thoroughly while trying to guess what words people might use, and as I followed the twitter stream, I have also some understanding as to what was actually said in those sessions.

I know what was discussed and where to find more info, but I don’t know that well what the actual content or message was. How very internet.

An enjoyable game. But then again, I did come in third.


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