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"Viral Gaming" Craze Hits Facebook

| 5 Feb 2009 16:19
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25 Random Things About Me, a "viral game" phenomenon sweeping across Facebook, is growing like the red weed and has at least one well-known industry executive gushing about it being one of his "favorite Facebook things."

Similar to a chain email, 25 Random Things About Me appears as a note containing 25 random facts about a Facebook friend. Recipients add 25 things about themselves, then forward it to 25 more people who are asked to do the same thing, and thus it grows exponentially, like a cheesy hair care products ad for the digital age. Because the "game" exists only as Facebook notes, the network can't say precisely how much activity it has generated, but Facebook spokeswoman Brandee Barker says daily note activity has more than doubled over the past week, while the number of tags has grown by five times.

"I would say that anecdotally I've never seen a note spread as quickly as this has on Facebook," she said. "What is really unique about this is it's a really meaningful piece of content. Some of the these notes are touching and frankly very insightful."

But anyone considering leaping into 25 Things should take care not to offer too much insight, said media consultant Shelly Palmer, author of the upcoming book Get Digital: Reinventing Yourself and Your Career for the 21st Century Economy. He warned that users "shouldn't put anything online that you would not want to see on the front of the newspaper or that you would not want a potential client or your boss to see."

Among those caught up in the craze is none other than Pete Hines, vice president of marketing at Bethesda Softworks. "It's one of my favorite Facebook things," he said. "I've learned a lot about people I've known for a long time and people I only know a little." A few random things about Pete: "I am one of the least organized people I know," he said. "I don't do well with paper, or filing things away, but I am religious about my e-mail inbox."

And as hot as 25 Random Things About Me may be, it's just the beginning of what will almost certainly be a flood of similar, spontaneous social games. A new one is already floating around Facebook, called A Bunch of Questions - Share. A random fact about me? I own, and wear, the same pair of winter boots I've had since I was about 13.

Source: USA Today

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