What's the Word[le]?


I’m not much of a gamer - at all. In fact, I bought a Wii last January and sold it by December because it was getting dusty. But my iPhone is changing that in an unexpected way…

We call it Wordle - which is actually the name of an online tag cloud generator. The official name of the game is Words With Friends, made by New Toy, Inc. And it’s addictive. The asynchronous game enables you to play scrabble with friends (or strangers, if you want) through a simple, clean, easy interface (at times, buggy). While you’re in the middle of a game, you can chat with your opponent (or heckle, as I do). I currently have 6 active games and they last anywhere from 1 day to weeks (depending on often I can sneak in a move during my day).

A group of longtime friends (not the most digitally savvy bunch), geographically separated across the country, connected to each other in an ongoing game of Wordle.Over the past few months it was, at times, the only way I knew that my Wordle friends were alive…they played their turn. To me, it’s an interesting example of mobile social networking in a way that is relevant and interactive. Oh, and meaningful…because I’m able to connect with friends through Wordle.

(note furniture, pjs, wine…and the cookie tin and baby monitor on side table)

So we all met up in Delaware last weekend…to visit old friends and meet new babies. At 230am, we retreated to the basement (decorated in ‘that 70’s show’ kinda way) because we didn’t want to wake the babies.  5 of us were sitting around with iPhones in hand (each of us near an outlet for charging).  Deeply focused on our individual games.  With each other.  Chatting in between moves. One person is always “waiting for moves” in an asynchronous game. That person usually did the talking.

(note rascal scooter in image. both guys were ‘waiting for moves’)

Words With Friends is doing something VERY right. Yet, most of the ads you see (in between moves in the free version) are seemingly the digital/mobile version of late late late night local tv ads (weight loss in 24 hours, end baldness, etc). I did see an Alice in Wonderland ad and one for Google mobile search. But that’s it?

Seems like a missed opportunity to me.

Then again, I guess at 2am those are the only types of ads you’re really ever gonna see. Even on your mobile phone.

And no, I won’t publish how good or bad I’m doing. It’s too humiliating.