Category Archives: Beautiful Games

Twitter Contest – The Memes, Cleverness, and Prizes….

So we’re almost a week in, and the twitter contest is ticking along nicely….

(If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can check out the first blog explaining the game here.)

TheRealRothfussUpdate

There’s been a lot of discussion as to the best way to refer to a group of Rothfi. A ponderance? A blither? Someone very clever suggested “Pontography.” Someone else proposed “Pisser” as the proper collective noun. There were a lot of good ones.

Personally, I think a group of us should be “a maunder of Rothfi.”

And don’t bother running off and seeing which of the profiles has mentioned that. I just made it up right now. I’m not going to tip my hand here.

Grammatical flummery aside, so far the contest has been a ton of fun. I’ve enjoyed it immensely, and it seems like most of the spectators are digging it too.

And honestly I’m amazed at the level of competition. Amazed. I knew I was bringing in clever people here, but I didn’t give them *nearly* enough credit.

But it hasn’t all been sunshine and kisses in the shade. There have been a few problems, and the biggest of these has been…

  • Verification:

Normally, getting verified on twitter is something you strive for. It’s a stamp of legitimacy. It shows you’re *really* Neil Patrick Harris, and not just some schmoe that grabbed a picture off the internet.

Before I started this contest, I thought verification was something you applied for. I thought there was some arduous process, some gauntlet you had to run. A quest you needed to complete that would please the distant ineffible twitter gods, high on their mountain.

And apparently, that’s kinda true. There is a form you can fill out. There is an application you can submit. Many do strive for verification. Apparently John Scalzi himself has been trying to get verified for ages and hasn’t managed it.

But look at what happened to us about 18 hours into our contest:

First Verification

See that little blue checkmark? That means that they *verified* one of our accounts.

What’s really funny is this. We created all these accounts using throwaway e-mail addresses *literally* named like this: twitter1@etc.com, twitter2@etc.com, twitter3@etc.com, twitter4@etc.com…

What’s more, the accounts were all identical except for the name and the picture. They all followed the same 7 profiles. They all had the same tagline: “It’s my job to break your heart.” They all listed my blog as their website. They all had one identical post.

And they’ve all sat there, inactive for more than a year.

Then the contest started, and within 18 hours, one of them got verified.

This is because, in addition to having an application process, twitter has a bot that searches around for people and auto-verifies them.

We were all a little stunned when this happened. We figured it was an odd fluke, and figured out how to remove the verification by changing the name on the profile and changing it back.

Then less than a day later….

The second verification

Re-verified.

We don’t know what sort of algorithm the twitter-bot uses. Nobody does.

After the shock wore off, I realized how hilarious it was. You see, this means is that one of us has completely convinced twitter that this profile is Pat Rothfuss.

And I think this is awesome.

A lot of people have taken this to mean that the contest is over. That it’s spoiled. But nothing could be further from the truth.

The fact is, the only information the twitter-bot has access to is circumstantial. It’s deciding based off the tweets themselves. The friends added. The links linked. I dunno. Maybe the picture, too?

It’s making a judgement based on those things. The same information you have access to.

All this really means is that the twitter-bot has decided to cast its vote early in our contest.

You can trust it if you want. It seems pretty sure of itself.

But personally, I’d like to think that my readers are more independent than that.

In fact, one of my favorite things about the contest so far is watching people declare their allegiance, sometimes just due to a turn of phrase:

@PatRothfuss Header Photo

Or a piece of punctuation:

@patrickrothfuss4

Some folks are just having fun with it:

Beautiful game 2

I see folks planting their flags, then sometimes spinning 180 with such force that you’d be amazed they don’t break their own necks.

beautiful game 4b

Here’s one of my favorites:

Beautiful game 1

I love this. These guys are fucking *into* it. They are using their vasty human intellect to crack this puzzle.

This is the very essence of a #BeautifulGame.

So… yeah. If you want to pick a profile based exclusively on what some computer algorithm thinks. That’s your choice. But honestly? I’m a little sad for you….

  • Other ways to screw yourselves by being too clever.

I know a lot of you are game players. Probably excellent game players. And if you like my books, odds are that you have at least a passing interest in looking for hidden clues.

So when I put this contest together, I knew I had to thwart those tendencies. For example, if you try to guess based on what device different profiles are twittering from? You’re probably going to be wrong. Why? Because one of the requirements for all the players is that they tweet from all manner of different platforms and devices.

Also, you should be aware that some of the profiles started this game with 5000-6000 more followers than others. In the year the profiles sat around, some collected 6-7 thousand followers. Others only collected 1-2 thousand.

So if you look at a profile and think, “Wow, this one has 4000 more followers, obviously that’s the one pat would pick to use as his own.” or “Wow, this is the one pat would pick because this twitter name is more like something he’d want.” you’re kinda screwing yourself.

First, because you’re missing the main point of the contest, to see who’s best at being me.

And second, you’re screwing yourself because when we assigned these profiles, we pulled names out of a hat for each one. They’re deliciously random.

Ultimately, this game is based on skill. It is a contest of trickery, persuasion, and cunning.

If I were you, I’d base your choice off that….

  • What’s still to come.

Two weeks is kind of a long time.  Particularly with something that moves as fast as twitter.  Maybe I should’ve thought of that before, but I had no way of knowing.

Lest things start to get a little same-y. We’re going to add a few things to the contest just to keep things interesting.

One of the suggestions someone made to me was that if I’m selling out and getting on twitter, I might as well go whole hog and start making memes too.

I don’t know if they were being snarky or not, but either way, I think it’s a great idea. I think memes and twitter go together like…

Like a…

Like a pithy writer and a good analogy.

So I’m going to challenge my fellow competitors to meme everyone’s new favorite pet from the photo contest.

That’s right: Ugly Cat.

I’ve never memed before. So we’ll use this as another piece of the puzzle that will help people discover #TheRealRothfuss.

UC-Holding

(Oh Ugly Cat, you still fill me with such joy…)

Are you good to go, gentlemen?  Ready… set…. meme!

  • On Being A Winner.

After my first blog post, there was some confusion about how the money was going to go to the charities in question.

So. Just to clarify, when the contest is over, there will be a great voting. The profile that gets the most votes, wins. The person running that profile will be the winner, and the charity they chose will get the $1000 from DAW.

Originally, that was my entire plan. But now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t see why y’all can’t be in the running for some cool things too….

Iron Drabs resized

These are some prototype drabs we’re working on. They’re not ready to go up in the store yet. But do I have a few we can give away as prizes….

So here’s what we’re going to do.

The whole point of this contest is for people to be clever and have fun. To play a beautiful game.

So starting now, if you do something on twitter that strikes me as particularly cunning, or funny, or sly, or smart. I will make a post along these lines.

“Congratulations, @JoeTwitter. That’s the funniest thing I’ve seen today. You know how to play #ABeautifulGame.”

Or

“That’s a really good point, @JustSusan. I bow to your unassailable Aristotelian logic. Congratulations on #ABeautifulGame.”

Then one of my lovely assistants will get in contact with you, get your mailing address, and we’ll mail you one of these prototype drabs. You can then use that drab to taunt your friends until they cry.

Each of my five Rothfussian comrades will be doing the same thing, of course.

This is a new part of the game. Not only do you have to guess at what might tickle the fancy of the Rothfi, but seeing what behavior each profile rewards should give you a lot of insight into which one of us is #TheRealRothfuss.

Have fun, everyone.

pat

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, contests, My brilliant ideas | By Pat58 Responses

Twitter – A Beautiful Game

So for a couple of years now, I’ve been a bit of a laughing stock in the geek community because I’m a luddite.

You see, I did not posses a smartphone. Neither did I have a twitter account.

This might not seem like a crippling social affliction, and most of the time it’s not. Most of the time I’m at home in Wisconsin, writing and hanging out with my little boy.

But then I go to a convention, like Origins, and while I’m there, I hang out with John Scalzi, Felicia Day, and Wil Wheaton. And while we’re playing games, someone snaps a picture. And then, when they’re posting it up online, someone looks at me and says “I’ll tag you here, What’s your twitter handle?”

And I say, “I’m not on twitter.”

Keep in mind who I’m hanging with here. Wil, John, and Felicia. If you added some sort of animal sidekick to this mix, I’m guessing they could join together and form a giant robot that would somehow defend the internet. The looks they give me are the worst sort of mingled pity and scorn….

Ah hell. I just realized *I’m* probably the animal sidekick in that group. I’m Lubar, the great shambling bear-man from the frozen tundra who is charmingly baffled by the subtle magic of the interweb.

Anyway, the point is that I’ve finally, *finally* taken the leap.

20131016_165726

But that’s only the beginning. The phone itself isn’t enough. To really wire myself in, I know I need to get on twitter.

*     *     *

Part of the reason I want to get on twitter is because it will save me time. I tend to be… um…. wordy. Verbose even. Sometimes a blog that starts out as a simple announcement turns into a 500 word screed.

Twitter will help me reign that impulse in a bit. I’ll be able to mention things to y’all without feeling the obligation to make a meaty blog about them.

The other reason I need to get on twitter is to stay in better touch with my readers.

You see, I’m not a total technological schmendrick. I’ve been on facebook since before it was cool, and I’ve slowly built my army over there. For years I’ve used facebook to clue-in readers when I’m doing events, running contests, or going to conventions….

But these days Facebook deliberately throttles back the reach of most pages. These days I’m encouraged to “boost” my posts by giving facebook money. If I don’t boost the posts (and I never do) the things I write there only show up on *half* my reader’s news feeds.

It happens all the time. I schedule a signing in Boston. I post on facebook letting people know about my signing in Boston. I go to Boston. I get home and later that day I see someone howling on my wall “You Were In BOSTON!!??!?”

Twitter doesn’t have this problem. If you follow me on twitter, and I post something on twitter, you’ll be able to decide for yourself if it’s worth reading.

But here’s the problem. I don’t want to spend ages slowly building up my twitter following.

Also, you only get to lose your twitter virginity once.

My thought is, why not have a little fun with this?

My thought is, why don’t we play a little game?

*     *     *

So here’s what I’ve done.

I’ve created six twitter accounts, all versions of the name “Pat Rothfuss.”

I’ve recruited 5 members of the geek glitterati. Friends who are good with words. They’re witty, wired-in, and social media savvy.

Starting today, each of them will claim one of those accounts at random and do their best to convince the world they’re the *real* Pat Rothfuss.

They’ll connive and scheme. They’ll share links, twitter at you, and generally attempt to exude an aura of Rothfuss-y-ness.

I will take the sixth profile and attempt to do the same.

The contest will run for two weeks and finish on Halloween at midnight.  Then everyone will vote on who they think the real Pat Rothfuss is.

CSG_WhatDoILookLike_Reveal-smaller

The winner gets that most valuable commodity of all: Bragging Rights.

Even better, the winner will have 1,000 dollars donated to the charity of their choice. The prize money being provided by DAW Books, my lovely publisher.

I might also see if I can find a trophy of some sort.

  • The Rules:

It should be blindingly obvious to everyone that I could win this game pretty easily. I could post up a selfie with today’s newspaper and that would be the end of it.

But what would be the fun in that?

The five other people who are playing are going to have to win through sheer cleverness, trickery, and guile. I plan on winning the same way.

What I’m getting at here, is that I’m looking to play a beautiful game. Why would I want to win anything other than a beautiful game?

Aside from my self-imposed handicap, there are only two rules:

1. Players can change anything on their twitter profiles except for their pictures. Those will remain the same throughout the contest. Otherwise things would just be too confusing.

2. Stories about Oot are out of bounds.

You see, I love telling stories about my little boy: (Codename Oot.)

A lot of the stories I tell are funny, silly, or irreverent. For example, on facebook I recently shared how Oot spent 20 minutes running around shouting “Gangnam Style!” and dancing naked.

I shared the story because it’s funny, and because he has no sense of shame at this point in his life.

But the thought of someone *else* making up a story along those lines…. It creeps me out a little bit.

So. No Oot stories. He’s out of bounds.

That’s it though. Everything else is fair game.

  • The Charities:

The charities are people are backing:  WorldbuildersArchitecture for HumanityTeach for America826LACon or Bust or Project Nightlight.

(Here’s a hint. I’m playing for my home team, Worldbuilders.)

If you want to know more about these charities, you can read some brief summaries over on the page where you can see all six twitter feeds at once.

TheRealRothfuss

Fair warning: We kinda threw this page together. If it gets hammered with 100,000 visitors in the next two days, it might crash.

So if you want to follow the contest, you might consider following all six of these accounts right now. That way you can watch the entire beautiful game without fear of tech glitches getting in the way.

As of right now, each profile is virtually identical except for its name and the profile picture. While the pictures will remain the same, (as per rule #1 above) the profiles will doubtless change as soon as the players take charge.

A careful observer will notice that each of the profiles has one tweet from Oct 14th saying, “I am the real Pat Rothfuss.”

A *very* careful observer will notice that that post is actually from Oct 14th 2012. That’s how long I’ve been planning to do this contest, but I’ve never managed to get around to it until now.

Because the profiles have been sitting around for a while, some of them have collected different numbers of followers.

I’m guessing that in the next couple days they’re going to get a few more….

In case you’d like it again, here’s a link to the page where you can see and follow all of the accounts.

Game on,

pat

P.S. Just now, minutes before we launch this blog, it has occurred to me that we should have some sort of official hashtag associated with it.

I consulted with my staff, and my twitter-smart assistant Amanda has confirmed that yes, this is a good idea.

What’s more, she has implied to me that this tag could even be used to ask a question of all the different accounts at the same time. Something along the lines of “If you’re the *real* Pat Rothfuss, what’s your favorite flavor skittle?”

And then you’d somehow… um… hash things. Together. I guess that’s another thing I’m going to have to figure out…

Anyway, how about we use #TheRealRothfuss. Using it all the time would would probably be cumbersome and cluttery. But now it’s there for people if they want it. (Sorry to make y’all use caps, but otherwise it looks too much like “There Al Rothfuss.” Which would be some other, entirely lamer game.)

Also posted in Achievement Unlocked!, contests, My brilliant ideas | By Pat93 Responses
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