Friday, February 22, 2008

Facebook - Games People Play and Randomness

One of the questions I am asked is how did you meet so many people? For Facebook, one of the answers is playing games. If you think about Facebook as various spheres of influence coming from your current friends or network, how can you expand beyond that in an easy way?

For example, language is a barrier for meeting people from other countries and regions. In addition you may not know anyone there to help you expand into there.

So while networking in social media many times requires work and focus, a great part of your mix would be to play games which involve randomly meeting other people. So on any given day how can you find smart, witty, engaging people

Over the past few months, I have been a serious scrabulous addict playing multiple games at a time during the week. There are multiple dictionaries that you can play (US-English, UK/British - English, French and Italian). I have played all but Italian (since I haven't studied the language. I studied French for about 6 years. It turns out that I have met some very interesting people from London, North Dakota, Australia, New Zealand, Paris, Montreal and smaller cities in those countries as well. In scrabulous, there is a ranking system, so you can see who is at a certain ability. Typically a rating of 1200 is average and 1500+ is excellent. You can choose a level you want to play at or again, just look at a "face" and pic a person who looks interesting to you. During the games there is a chat (although it is delayed between moves) and can continue throughout the game.

Recently, I decided to test my poker skills at Texas Hold'em Poker. My initial instincts were that I would end up playing mostly against people who were from English speaking countries, who were serious poker players. Well it turned out to my surprise that Poker is truly an international game with people from many non-english speaking countries playing. Unlike scrabulous which usually has two people playing, you can sit at a table of up to 10 people. Texas Hold'em will match you with the right table depending on your monetary balance and other factors.

While play is going on there is a live chat which the whole table can participate in. In my first few weeks, I have met a freelance reporter for a major magazine who is in Baghdad covering the war, a woman from Norway who is studying to be a Tony Robbins Coach, and a lot of people from countries such as Canada, New Zealand, China, Turkey, Egypt, UK and United Arab Emirates. The developer of Texas Hold'em is a company called Zynga. Zynga has made it easy to connect on facebook. One way is you can lend or give someone at your table some money from your stash and they also have an option to click on their picture and "add as a friend" while at the table.

Games have always been one of the most popular ways to socialize. This translates as well in social media and Facebook. The randomness of who you play with, the level that you play at and the frequency can determine some of your new network. So, take a break, play a game and expand your network.

I will be doing a series of stories on the developers of these games over the next few months. We also will be featuring Zynga on a show on blog talk radio in a few weeks.

If you are a game developer or have benefited by playing. I would love to hear from you for a future story or just comment below.

1 comment:

Michael said...

As a scrabulous fan, you should check out Crab Word. A massively multiplayer twist on scrabulous.

http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=8750276654

- Michael Alexander Ewert