Earlier this week the Prime Minister of Egypt was globally ridiculed for a Twitter update generated from within Beeline Interactive's popular Smurfs' Village game. Last year a Spanish politician made headlines when his "son" tweeted a game update from Doodle Jump.When public figures do it, it's mildly amusing, but when the average Joe's Twitter feed starts filling up with game updates, the average Joe gets blocked. The updates need to stop.
During the Facebook social game explosion of 2009-2010, game notifications were a blight, filling friends' feeds with obnoxious requests for in-game items or assistance. It took a few years, but thanks to platform rule changes and the ability to block specific apps, Facebook has become a much nicer place to hang out.
Twitter doesn't give users the ability to block individual keywords or specific applications, so my feed slowly fills with crap like this:
Reporting IS my work, so step the hell off, Papa Hashtag Smurf.
Nearly every social-style gaming app features the ability to send out tweets. It's a feature that allows players to share their accomplishments with their friends, perhaps expecting them to proffer a celebratory pat on the back or something. At least that's how the app developers would prefer players look at it. These are advertisements, pure and simple. I am playing this, here is a link to it so you can play it too. Maybe you'll become addicted as well and spend $27,000 on Smurf berries. It's social marketing. We're the modern-day equivalent of tiny classified ads.
So it's not just that I don't give a damn about your Smurf Village / Springfield / E.T. Garden / Temple Run 2 high score. I also don't like seeing your enthusiasm and enjoyment turned into an advertisement. It's embarrassing, and it needs to stop, but how?
When a game asks you if you'd like to send a tweet, just say no. Simple, right? If you're excited about something that happened, just tweet it manually. Okay, maybe you need a little help.
Delete Your Twitter Account Information.
No, not your entire Twitter account (though I suppose that would work too).
Both Apple and Android feature a convenient means of storing your Twitter information so that when a program wants you to access it, it's only a button press away. Don't do this. If you've already entered the information, remove it.
Just click on the account name and delete it. You'll still be able to enter the information manually for each application, but the additional step might give you time to come to your senses. For extra-added protection, make your Twitter password the most inconvenient thing to type on a mobile keyboard ever.
Deauthorize Your Apps.
You have the willpower to avoid having to remove your account? That's great. Now let's make sure those games you're playing are going to just spam up Twitter anyway. Once you authorize a game it doesn't technically even have to ask you before tweeting. Most do, but it's so easy to just press that "Yes" button you might just wind up annoying people out of habit. You just can't help it. It comes naturally.
Those games can't capitalize on your predilection for annoyance if you don't revoke their access. It's in your Twitter settings. You'll probably be amazed at how many things are on that list. What the hell is Netvibes?
While you're pruning, be sure to deauthorize any game consoles or services you may have unwittingly signed up for, especially Raptr — if you really want to tell me you've just started playing BioShock Infinite, tell me yourself.
Adopt an Alter Ego.
While just not doing it is most highly effective method for halting the rampage of game marketing tweets, it's also the hardest — just ask your favorite drug addict. It's not the act of putting the pills into your mouth, but the benefits of doing so. It's not like games like Smurf Village are simply begging players to tweet. There's something in it for you.
Free items when you tweet. Free in-game currency when you tweet. Speed up your buildings with tweets. Unlock achievements with tweets. Enter a contest with tweets. Tweets, tweets, tweets. You need to tweet, or you're not getting the full game experience.
Fine. Tweet as somebody else. Create a new Twitter account. When a perpetual annoyance engine revs up in the forest and no followers are around to hear it, does it really exist? Save the existential theorizing for your real Twitter account. @AppSpamForever is where the spam lives.
Sorry, @AppSpamForever is mine.
No Really, Just Stop.
It's not going to be easy. There will be wailing and screaming and gnashing of teeth. There will be confusion between Twitter accounts. There will be people following @AppSpamForever, defeating the very purpose of a secondary spam account.
There are many hurdles to overcome, but I have faith. Faith that one day the Prime Minister of a major country will be able to build a village of tiny people without worrying about an ungrateful nation that doesn't appreciate how terrible he'd be without some means to unwind. Faith that tweets like these...
...are never obscured by tweets like these.