Twitter, geolocalisation and pervasive games – mixing virtual and real life

Published on 30 January 2008

Today I created an account on twitter after reading an article at academhack. Apparently there seem to be some interesting usages of this micro-blogging tool, like increasing communication amongst members of a same community. Whilst the article on academhack emphasizes the educational usages of the tool, I wonder if the same thing wouldn’t work in other settings. Then again it may be that belonging to several communities would clash – how to do “directed twittering”, what to prioritise when writing and how to keep up with the additional information flow?

One feature of twitter gave me an idea. It is possible to receive status updates of your peers via SMS. The SMS is in this case a bridge between the virtual/online self and the real self (getting an SMS is “more real” than reading something on a computer), and I think that this would be something very useful for pervasive games.

Just imagine a game to which you could subscribe and which would send you via SMS instructions depending on your location – “Go to the coffee place at the corner of the street and get the secret key from the girl with a red t-shirt”. Of course, this involves geolocalisation and other technologies, and the girl would have to be another player and tell the game that she wears a red shirt that day (or just give some clue about how she’s dressed so other players could recognise her). But perhaps this isn’t such a difficult information to get from players anymore, especially in bigger cities, where many long to meet real folks in the real world.


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