Friday, 17 February 2012

Social Media Engagement: Attributes observed playing games

Another observation
Obviously, it isunscientific of based a whole set of presumptions on an experience that hashardly lasted 24 hours, but one will be hard-pressed not to draw conclusionsalready.
As I returned homeyesterday from a lovely rendezvous with my growing circle of friends made fromsocial media activities that included the rather usual lunch that had a finelady exhibit her mastery of Nigerian cuisine, she not being remotely African, Ireminisced about the many people I have met in person through blogging,tweeting and on Facebook.
Scrabble in motion
The train journeyback to Amsterdam was uneventful until at one of the stops a passenger boardedand as he was fiddling with his phone as everyone who has a smartphone doesnowadays, out of the corner of my eye I saw he was playing a game that lookedlike Scrabble.
A few days ago, Idid a search on the Android Marketplace for Scrabble and I ended up with a wordpuzzle – WordGame – which had some addictive qualities working against the clock butnothing like the tradition game.
Rather than be apeeping Tom, I asked the man if the game was Scrabble, it wasn’t but it was a Scrabbleclone of sorts called Wordfeud.
Handling the little things
He said he wasplaying multiple games using different dictionaries with friends all aroundthat world and I thought, when I get home, I will try it out.
Wordfeud isavailable for use with mainly European languages on the iPhone, Android andWindows 7.5+ platforms with the programmers having the good sense to differentiatebetween English (US) and English (International) – they deserve the Nobel PeacePrize for just that alone.
There is a premiumversion that removes all advertisements whilst introducing other features. Theboard and game is intuitive enough and each language has a different alphabetset with weights and frequencies differing according to the selected language.
A really good imitation
It was not longbefore I saw the dissimilarities between Wordfeud and Scrabble, the scoring onthe board is different with the premium squares allowing for more interestingplay, the ratings on the latters also differ – it is amazing how much trivialinformation one can recall from years of playing traditional Scrabble.
It offers the basicmoves as play, swap or miss with the shuffle function that allows forrearranging the letters to form new words but no penalties for wrong words, youare alerted and allowed to reply your turn. There are helpers like WordfeudHelper and Word Fraud, yes, you can get help without your opponent knowing –such dishonesty, alarming indeed.
Tardy responsiveness
However, the reasonfor this blog is to highlight an interesting trait I have found which I dobelieve is a pervasive social media problem.
Apart from Skypecalls, most interactive engagement systems are asynchronous, very much likeemail, you send a message and you cannot pre-determine when a response will bereceived. In a phone call, there is usually an unstated length of a pausebefore either party enquires of the other is still in that conversation – thatis usually not available for Instant Messaging, Twitter, Facebook or games thatare played online.
For this purpose,Wordfeud has given each player 72 hours to respond in play before that playerautomatically forfeits the game.
Appreciating the situation
My question is whystart a game you will not conclude and why is there is no sense of commitmentto complete a game you have started, albeit with strangers?
In 8 games that Ihave started since yesterday, only one has been completed, 2 resigned before 10tiles had hit the board and one gave up before placing anything.
The other four havebeen in play for as much as 17 hours, one of which is quite near conclusion. Ihave decided I will rather be beaten than resign the game and I will mostdefinitely avoid a default.
Wordfeud hasoptions to alert, remind and prompt when it is my turn and I have switched allthose options on.
The interestingthing is in a short chat session with one of the tardy, she; yes, she has afemale username said she was still in the game but was simultaneously playingmultiple games – in other words, I had to be patient.
I would not know ifthe trick is to win but drawing out the game interminably, I am however gladthat Wordfeud does not allow you to resign if it is not your turn.
Playing vulture
If anything,besides the addictive qualities Wordfeud might bring to bear, it allows peopleto divide their attention in such a way that they are not committed, attentiveor engaged to the chagrin of some.
It could also bethat the players will rather default than resign or hope that the game isforgotten especially when they are performing badly in the game so as to snatchvictory from the jaws of defeat – not with me.
This vulture is apatient bird and regardless of the social media construct, I will ensure I amcourteous and responsive to all players that have been randomly selected –niceness should be pervasive, regardless of level of acquaintance, though, I dorecognise in certain forums, some people just seek to expose your evils.

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