About twitter & how to play it by Visa.
Twitter is an MMO-RPG
Twitter is a multiplayer real-time virtual world, primarily text-based with limited multimedia support. It combines elements of role-playing games, hack and slash, player versus player, interactive fiction, and online chat.
Players can read, view and contribute descriptions of objects, other players, non-player characters, and actions performed in the virtual world, as well as the “real” world. Players typically interact with each other by utilizing strings that resemble a natural language.
While traditional MUDs typically implement RPGs set in distinct fantasy worlds populated by fictional races and monsters, with players choosing classes in order to gain specific skills or powers, Twitter allows every player to project their own fantasy and define their own game.
The flexible nature of Twitter makes it difficult for any singular definition of “the game” to become canonical. Conflict between players with different interpretations of Twitter is a key feature of Twitter itself. Indeed, one of the most popular games is “hey, fuck that guy”.
Unsurprisingly, few players put much thought into precisely defining the game that they are playing. Most players “pick it up” organically as they go along, inheriting the unwritten rules and norms of their peers via imitation and (limited) experimentation.
The key feature of (public) Twitter is that any player can interact with any other player. Any player can reply to any other player’s tweets, or retweet it, or quote-tweet it. This bypasses traditional limitations of both “real life” as well as older web mediums like “blogs”.
Twitter is also searchable, and allows tweets to be “threaded” in chains.
This allows skilled players to build incredibly complex tapestries of hypertext, consisting of thousands of tweets.
Why would such prolific players choose Twitter as a medium, rather than “websites” or “books”, which appear to be better suited to large volumes of content?
Because Twitter allows any player to interact with any other player’s tweets.
Realize the power
Most casual players do not appear to have caught on to the true potential utility of Twitter, or perhaps they are indifferent to it.
A web of tweets is a living entity that allows players to meet, interact and engage with 1000s of others at the level of individual thoughts.
Properly constructed, a web of tweets allows you to:
- witness how other players discover your tweets, via their patterns of Likes, RTs, QTs
- connect each fragmented thought and experience into a part of a greater whole
- recognise and embellish patterns in your own play
We have not yet even begun talking about relationships. Players can build relationships with other players over time and shared interactions. Through cooperation, multiple players can share and merge webs with one another, helping each other find and share desired information
Players observed to be “good” and “fun” have even been known to invite each other to meetups, offer each other jobs, become “friends” outside of Twitter. Twitter is a game with extremely real stakes and consequences, both good and bad.
You are not limited to a single identity or account on Twitter. A single individual can play as many different players simultaneously. You can invent entirely different identities and have radically different experiences with each.
Mix it up
Any player can significantly improve their experience of Twitter by examining their own usage and evaluating it against their own desires and goals.
At any moment, any player can completely change their experience of Twitter by deciding to play it differently.
Who are you following? Why? What are you tweeting? Why? What experiences would you like to have? Why? Who would you like to play with? How? Why?
With a little introspection, Twitter can be a tool for self-inquiry, making friends, testing ideas, messing around, finding information, practicing speech, and pretty much anything you like.
It’s also, like everything else, just a game.
Things to do
Honestly I’m still not done geeking out about how great Twitter is. Any tweet from any thread can be reused in any other thread, do you realise how wild that is??? It allows you to create your own cinematic universe
- follow curiosity
- develop taste
- publish writing
- make friends
My top investments imo:
- "aggressively following my curiosity" -> creates a gorgeous inner life
- "aggressively publishing my writing in public" -> led to amazing jobs w/ great colleagues
- "aggressively making great friends" -> led to marriage + loving support network
Twitter allows me to do ALL OF THOSE THINGS SIMULTANEOUSLY
Graphic co-signed with Toby Shorin
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