In his television programme How Videogames Changed The World, Charlie Brooker ranked Twitter number one in the list. The social media platform was, in his eyes, the ultimate video game: Software that offers digital rewards in return for savvy sentences.
He was right, of course. Twitter is indeed a platform where you ‘play’ for likes and shares. The higher the numbers, the bigger the satisfaction.
At least, that was the case until this week – when Tesco decided to flip the whole concept of Twitter on its head.
On Monday (9 November), Britain’s biggest supermarket gleefully tossed a spanner in the social network by offering a reward for users who didn’t get any responses from their tweets.
Tesco promised a free meal deal to anyone who managed to quote their tweet and survive until 1pm the next day with no likes, no retweets and no comments.
So, social media did what it does best: It descended into chaos.
As soon as Tesco’s tweet started trending, users began sabotaging one another’s attempts to save a few quid on a sandwich, bag of crisps, and bottle of coke.
Some people have tried their best to quietly fly under the radar, whereas others have issued threats to block fellow users.
So far, very few tweets have made it through unscathed.
Will anybody be unpopular enough on Twitter to be able to claim a free lunch? There may be a few who manage to slip through the cracks.
But what Tesco’s little competition has revealed is that if Twitter is indeed a video game, it’s very much a single-player.
The Wild West-like world of social media has been laid bare.
Head over to Twitter to watch the turmoil unravel.