August 3rd, 2010

Cautious Pessimism

An idea that could go either way (Twitter)

I put (Twitter) in there because I was looking through my own archives for something and couldn't find it, so maybe if I come looking for this I'll be like "aha, Twitter, that must be the one." It feels like the kind of idea that I'll come back to in the future. It also feels like an idea that could turn out really good or really bad.

Wil Wheaton, maybe you heard of him. He's done some voice work for superhero cartoons and video games, he's had guest shots on CSI and Numb3rs, and I think he was in some other stuff when he was a kid. Sort of a nerd icon. He tweeted that he'd be going to GenCon and would like everyone to give him a single die. This is not directly relevant to the idea I came up with. Everybody already knows you can panhandle on Twitter.

I said to myself, "since I'm not going to GenCon, maybe I should mail a die to Wil Wheaton instead." Took that snowball and rolled it down the hill: "he really doesn't think he can have too many dice? I should mail him a new one every week. No, a new set every week. Just straight up overtide the guy with dice! That'll learn him to post fun requests on Twitter!" At this point I scaled back a little: is sending a whole bunch of dice to a celebrity mean-spirited? Stalkerish, even? Maybe I should ask him first. But what if he doesn't reply? He's got over 1.6 million followers, and I have 268. He outnumbers me by a factor of 6228.47. I totally bet he doesn't reply to me, man, he's a busy guy and stuff.

Sound of a rusty trap snapping shut on the leg of the main idea.

These big fancy Twitter celebs never reply, right? So what you do is, you send them a message like: "@wilw, I am going to send you a big box of dice in the mail. If this is okay please give no reply." And then, when he doesn't reply, it's cool! And then one day Wil Wheaton steps out onto his front porch (I bet he totally has a porch, man, I only have a stoop but someday I'll be famous and have a porch) and find this big ol' box just loaded with dice. And his dog will be all "HEY MAN WHAT'S THAT CAN I HAVE IT" and he'll tweet about it like, who sent me this many dice? Jeez man. That is too many dice.

That's a hypothetical situation, plus I drank too much coffee today, but you could send messages to people you'll never get replies from for tons of situations. To pump yourself up: "@andrewwk please don't reply to this if you want me to party my ass off!" To cool yourself down: "@revrunwisdom do not respond to this and I'll totally chillax and reflect on the wisdom of the universe today." To get yourself a hot date: "@simonbob if you don't reply, I'm assuming you're free tomorrow to go to the movies around seven-ish." Except I'll totally reply to that last one because, like I said, 268 followers.

But also that last one illustrates the dark side of this idea. I could come up with a lot of really terrible plans, like telling the official White House account that if they didn't reply, I would cut off softwood lumber imports. And then they wouldn't reply and I'd be all "but I told you on Twitter!" and that probably wouldn't go over so well. It's sort of like asking the gods to give me no sign before I eat a whole plate of spicy chicken wings, I guess. Still -- sending Wil Wheaton a whole box of dice? That sounds pretty funny. I just wish I could remember what show I kept seeing him on when I was a kid...

And on the flip side, if he does reply? Hey, I'm the guy who got a reply from Wil Wheaton. That can go on the e-resume, man. It's win-win all the way!