The Genius Behind the Best Metaverse Twitter Thread
So what was the task that led you to tell a noir story in a Twitter thread?
The task is to create an interactive account that lives on a social media platform and post it within a week. We were asked to consider the affordances of each particular platform as well as demographics and how difficult it is to “go viral.” How did you attract the audience to the first post? What do you call the action? Will you use an existing online community? What is your “high concept”? How does the mechanic work or against the story?
Does everyone use Twitter?
Some of my classmates create comics, TikTok videos, or Instagram posts. Many students also use Twitter but reveal their accounts in real time based on audience participation (such as using polls and monitoring responses). Very nice to look at.
What inspired the story itself? Why a metaverse noir?
Many times when we talk about virtual worlds, we tend to imagine a cartoony or cyberpunk aesthetic. I wanted to do something more unexpected and the opposite of that, while also giving the audience a strong reason to read. One of the things we talked about in class was letting players feel like they could “touch the story,” and a murder mystery framing seems perfect for that.
What are the challenges of telling that kind of story on Twitter?
There isn’t much room for nuance in 280 characters. That’s why Professor McHugh’s advice is to make sure each individual tweet feels like it can be interesting in itself or provide enough intrigue that someone might be forced to explore further. I knew I could use existing film and TV archetypes and tropes to help scaffold the world I wanted to build and allow the player to fill in the gaps. I’m a big fan of shows like Law and Order, and I immediately pointed to a character looking for a “dead avatar” as a way to hook someone up as quickly as possible. That’s what usually happens in the first five minutes of the crime process.
Your previous work focused on VR/AR. Is creating a Twitter thread a bit of a departure?
Part of the course approach is to ensure that students learn to adapt to future formats and platforms. We don’t know what the next gaming console or social media platform will look like, so we better be prepared to deal with anything.
What do you think of all the metaverse buzz — especially the things that come out Facebook-now then?
I’m impressed with the number of resources Facebook wants to put into “metaverse projects,” as well as their stand on cross-compatibility — ensuring users have access via mobile devices or PCs or the web.
But as smarter people than I point out, Ready Player One and Snowfall is the pretty terrible dystopian future; I don’t want to live in any worlds. Heck, I’m not sure I want to live in the world I create. Fiction is not intended to be a teaching manual, after all. And I don’t want for the metaverse — whatever else ends up — to be controlled by one company.