Readings, and Related Inspirations

Twitter, Zombies & Permanence

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Last weekend I became undead. It was a Saturday afternoon, and I was sitting at a coffee shop in downtown Decatur, Georgia.

I yelled.

I shouted. People at the coffee shop stared.

I called a friend to see if her friend could save me.

He was in California at a rock show. He was busy.

And so I turned.

This is how it went down:

I was bit by @myunnaturalself – and then

I pleaded for my life. I had dodged earlier, and my dodge was up.

But then:

I was saved… for the moment.

Little did I know – the zombies were stalking me.

They got me. And then they zombie high-fived. It was painful. I pleaded. I called others on my cellular telephone in real life. But there was no help.

And so I turned.

And I began to stalk others.

I lost several hours out of my workday dodging zombies and swiping them away for other zombies.
The rules were simple. There were only 5 steps:

1. If you are on twitter (anywhere on twitter) in the last 5 minutes, you can get bit, and you have 5 minutes to get saved.

2. If you get bit, you can #dodge 1 time an hour

3. If someone else gets bit, you can #swipe for them 1 time and hour.

4. If you become a zombie, you can #bite once every 30 minutes.

But like all things on the internet, these rules had little permanence, which is why I haven’t linked you to them.

Here is the twitter vs. zombies website.

There, you can see how the game is laid out. There is a scoreboard, and a rule sheet – all housed in google docs.

If you have ever used a google doc, you might know that they can be changed by anyone with permission. In our case, the google doc was open to the public. Anyone and everyone that landed on the page could change these documents. Their permanence was fleeting. The scoreboard changed any time someone used #dodge, #swipe, #bite, or turned into a zombie. The rules changed every 12 hours or so and became much more complicated, adding several other literacies in such as photographs uploaded to tweets, and the creation of storify narratives, such as this one by Lee Skallerup – #TvsZ A Love Story

Why is this important?

As I played this game, I had to juggle several digital literacies: tweeting using several hashtags, managing a google document scoreboard, and commenting to help develop the rules into more complex, and slightly more rigid, play. This is a brilliant idea to teach multiple digital literacies through play.

To get a brain-full of the discussion concerning the build, launch, and implications of this game, I leave you with the video below. Creators Pete Rorabaugh (@allistelling) and Jesse Stommel (@Jessifer) delivered their experimental twitter game in a presentation at Duke University this past Monday. The video contains that presentation, and an extensive line of questions concerning the game.


One thought on “Twitter, Zombies & Permanence

  1. I love the image of you screaming and shouting in the coffeeshop while you were on twitter.

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