With the latest patch to its beta build, Rift makes it possible to tweet from directly inside the game with the simple command: /tweet. On the whole, this is pretty nifty, because twitter has the capacity to produce larger, faster discussions than any other form of social media and it’s very nice to see that kind of support for it.
However, like anything else, it comes with a dark side: OMG, the Spam.
About a year ago, an addon for World of Warcraft was released to tons of applause for its groundbreaking ability to reach out from Azeroth and into the Twitterverse. That addon was TweetCraft. And even though it did not allow instantaneous tweeting like the implementation in Rift (you had to reload your UI to get it to synch with Twitter), fans rejoiced at being able to tweet their rear off without having to alt+tab. It made all the “papers”: WoW Insider, Kotaku, TechCrunch and even The New York Times.
The downside? Automated tweeting. If you had 20 people set up with twitter and just about any game who could tweet the instant they earned an achievement using the same hashtag, you would see a hashtag filled with spam. Now expand the number of uses by a factor of about 100,000 or so and you’ll see the trainwreck. Automated tweeting is the devil.
The end result, people complained that TweetCraft was too spammy and they responded (I even got a personal response from the developer) and they made a simple fix: they defaulted automatic spamming of achievements to ‘off’. Most people don’t spend the time to configure these things.
Rift could use such a tweak right now. As you can see from the screenshot above, which was taken from my TweetDeck this morning (at about 7:30 am Eastern time, so hardly primetime), the #rift hashtag is being buried with achievement spam. It’s like being in one giant guild with every Rift player in the world and if you had to say ‘grats’ to each one, your fingers would fall off from the typing. Worse, any meaningful conversations that could happen on twitter (and they do happen, you damned cynics!) are getting buried by a rapidly moving stream of Who-Gives-A-Crap.
Here’s to hoping they fix it before release!
Additional Note: I feel like a broken record, but I’m also inclined to continue to plug that we’re recruiting for our Rift talon. So, if you want the twitter spam to go away, but you still want lots of cool people to spam you with their achievements in game, check us out!