There is a great
game, time-sink, “work-day accelerator” that I’ve been using for the past few months to help while away the time between meetings. Its called “Just Letters” and the point is… well their really is no point. You move letters on a page and spell words or make short phrases, when you can keep other people from stealing the letters your working with. Great geek fun to be had by all.
The really interesting thing about Just Letters is that there is no way to communicate with other users. No chat widow, no board and no tools that would allow anyone in the rooms to work in concert. Despite this, if you hang out in any room long enough you can observe people doing exactly that. Working in concert. Another interesting fact is that almost anyone can get the strangers in any room work with them towards simple goals. Try putting all letters in the room in one corner or even better, start lining up the letters in alphabetical order at the bottom or top of the screen. Within a few seconds as other notice that you are working towards a goal they tend to join in and help you achieve it. Of course your victory is likely to be fleeting but it does happens.
Beside being cool, in a pocket-protector and taped glasses sort of way, its a great micro-example of knowledge community (as defined by MIT brain Henry Jenkins). This made think about the different ways to evolve community or a social network that drew on a random transitory membership that coalesced around a goal and then dissipated. How about a LoveHappens for Jobs? Where is the Just Letters for house hunting? Maybe I’ll write-out a few business ideas based on this…