Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Facebook Numbers in Status: New way of telling private things in public

Last week, people changed their Facebook profile pictures to cartoons to stand up to child abuse and violence. The trend popularity went south when rumors started to surface that the Facebook cartoon profile picture meme was a nice hoax set up by child predators.

So, today, there is a new popular game in our virtual town – the Number Game. It works like this: You send a friend any number in a non-public communication like a Facebook private message or in a chat, and this number will be associated for now with you for all matters of communication in public. The friend will then write his or her ‘real’ feelings about you in a public status update, but will refer to you only by your number without mentioning names or other hints, so that your identity is hidden in plain sight to all but the two of you.

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The official explanation from the Facebook page:

The Number Game is a fun, interactive game that you can play with your facebook friends! Here is how it works: Facebook users can ask their friends what they think about them by supplying them with a number through a message. The friend then gives the answer via a status, and attaches the number to their answer for identification purposes.

Step By Step.

::: Ask your friends via a status or on chat to send you their favorite number through a message if they want feedback on what you think about them

::: Post a status about that particular person, starting it with the number they sent you (It can be a compliment, something you like or dislike about them, or something you always wanted to tell them)

Below are listed a few examples!

Number sent to you: 21
Status: True friend; you've always been there and I'm grateful for our relationship!

Number sent to you: 1013
Status: I wonder why we never really talk... you seem cool, but we just never connect:/

Number sent to you: 10
Status: You're gonna make it somewhere someday:P Keep up the good work and stay true to who you are

OK, is this game fun?
Let’s admit, the game basically offers reverse anonymity - the opposite of having a secret admirer or adversary. Both parties know who the other is. The difference between having this conversation about ‘true’ feelings in private is that you’re telegraphing it publicly on Facebook - except that no one has any idea what you’re talking about. It’s not like the rudimentary encryption hides anyone’s identity in order to allow them to say things to another in secret they wouldn’t say otherwise. I could see a value in that. But all the Numbers Game does is clog everyone else’s news stream with revelations that “so-and-so thinks 6 is a total B.” Do you really care? Unless you want to become a virtual detective, trying to transcript the anonymous numbers into the real names of your friends.

Why, why, why?
The game has made to the top of the Google Searches, penetrated to 2 popular social networks – Facebook and Twitter – and gained more than 1,000 'likes' in less than 12 hours on Facebook page only. So, if it is not fun, why it is so popular? I would offer several possible suggestions for your consideration:
  1. As every virtual epidemic, it is addictive. All your friends are getting their feedback, and you are out of the main track? No, get back to it!
  2. It is all about you. Everybody like this sort of game. Just one more way, and one more reason to discuss the most interesting topic on the Earth – YOU.
  3. But why in public status? Private communication is not enough? The anonymous revelation about you gives you feeling of significance and magic. Like reading in the local newspaper about yourself, like “Student B. was hit by passing by scooter. He was released from the emergency room after brief observation”.
  4. There might be certain positive outcome from the game as well. Let’s say, you want to get real opinion about you from the particular person, but you kind of cannot approach with your inquiries. Within this game, that would be quite natural.
I would say that this Facebook game seems to be best suited for the teenagers, who are in the stage of constant uncertainty about themselves, their looks, relationship, friendship, and love.

Sources and Additional Information:

1 comment:

work and travel said...

The number game ? i have never played it ?