Friday, February 3, 2012

Social Media in Modern Settings

Not a full on discussion, but something I'm hoping to get folks' input on. How many of you have taken the time to consider what social media can mean for modern day games and events? the rate at which information can spread, and the degree of familiarity that can come through passive online observation is downright amazing. Have you used it in your game? Do you want to? Let's talk about that today.

Facebook and Others Like It
Facebook is a crazy reservoir of information that I think a lot of PCs, and NPCs, would love to get their hands on. Can you imagine how much fun you could have as a super villain if you found Peter Parker's facebook account and thus his friends list? Not to mention how much easier it could be to keep tabs on him, putting faces to the names of the people he associates with, etc. It's practically a stalker's wet dream in there, and it's all free for the taking. Especially with some of the recent privacy changes and being able to view information from friends of friends of friends of friends.

You need to know  a person's habits? Well, if they're a compulsive twitter user you can probably figure out everything you need to know about them from how often they talk to their parents, when they go to work, and who they hang out with at different times. This gets even better with the people being followed, who is messages, and just what is said. Can you say "fastest psych profile ever, Batman?" I thought so.

Four Square
Ok, forget what I said about Facebook. This is a stalker's wet dream. Regular updates on not just where someone is but how often they go there? Pretty sweet. The second you know a PC/NPC is the "mayor" of some place on four square you've basically got them. Why? Because you know where they're going to be at any given time.

I'm sure you can all come up with tons of uses for these, but the big one - aside from traumatizing your PCs' social lives - can be with information dispersal. Celebrities don't have private lives anymore. You can't hide behind public appearances and PR folks. If you go off and tell a cameraman to take a hike, especially if you use some sort of discriminatory slur, it's going to be all over the net in minutes, and on the Entertainment Talk Shows shortly after.

This can be huge for any game where PCs are in the public limelight (especially super hero games) where a small misstep could have huge repercussions. Not to mention all the other fun issues that can come up.

Have You Done It?
Have you used social media in your games? Did it go well? What did you like about it? What didn't you like about it?


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  2. In my Star Wars campaign (which has been running since 1991), we have 'incorporated' real world technology as it has progressed. It began with the functionality of the Internet (which became the 'infonet' in my campaign), then went on to include cell phones (expanding upon what a standard 'comlink' could do) and lately (semi jokingly) it has included a facebook like 'app' that the heroes were using during one of their missions to keep in touch. The players dubbed it 'sithbook' (because they happened to be in a sith area when they started using it).