In late 2008 Twitter was still very young. At that time it was used mostly by early adopters and the tech savvy. This was a really fun time to be on Twitter, since not very many people knew or cared about it you could experiment all you wanted. And since most the people using it cared about it just as much as you did there was no thought given to how it was used, how often someone posted or what kind of material they posted. Everyone who understood it was using it and those that didn’t get it were few and far between.
We tried making Twitter bots that would post a daily history fact or that would just repeatedly repost another Twitter feed. We’d hack together a few different functions from different sites just to automatically feed our personal RSS feeds to our account. Back then you could get Twitter updates via the website, sms or (believe it or not) Google Chat. It was during that time that a few friends and I started to have a daily trivia exchange.
One person would pose a question like: “It is said that you can link anyone to this actor in 6 steps or less.” Then over the course of the next few minutes there would be a flurry of responses as each person tweeted back their answer. (Some more correct than others: Who is Kevin Bacon, What is Kevin Bacon, Where is Kevin’s Bacon, etc…) This simple game was a fun distraction during the day and after playing it on and off for a few months two of us decided that we’d turn that fun little game into something more official.
As with any side project it took a while to get moving. There would be a solid weekend of work and then nothing for a few months while life, family and work took precedence. We’d get close to finishing something only to have Twitter change it’s API or authorization rules right when we were about to start testing. At one point we almost shelved the idea completely simply because we didn’t believe there would be interest in playing a Jeopardy style quiz game on Twitter, that mixed with the rise and fall of other Twitter games (@Trivia, SNODS, 140Mafia, SpyMaster and Tweefight) made us think that the time had passed.
Then came Watson. In early 2011 Jeopardy pitted 2 of their greatest champions against a machine.
SPOILER ALERT: The machine won.
Not only was this fun to watch, it re-kindled our desire to finish our pet project. So, on August 31, 2011, 2 years and 8 months after our first discussion, we finally saw it through and released @Twitpardy. It’s not a new idea or a ground breaking concept, but so far, it’s damn fun. If you use twitter and enjoy trivia – Check it out.
Big thanks to @mrpants – co-creator of Twitpardy.