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This article was published on August 21, 2009

Sacrifice your Twitter followers to a shaking Gorilla

Sacrifice your Twitter followers to a shaking Gorilla
Martin SFP Bryant
Story by

Martin SFP Bryant


Martin Bryant is founder of Big Revolution, where he helps tech companies refine their proposition and positioning, and develops high-qualit Martin Bryant is founder of Big Revolution, where he helps tech companies refine their proposition and positioning, and develops high-quality, compelling content for them. He previously served in several roles at TNW, including Editor-in-Chief. He left the company in April 2016 for pastures new.

Bet Your FollowersHere’s an unusual take on Twitter-based gaming. Bet Your Followers is a game in which you stand to lose the most important part of the Twitter experience – your followers.

select 5 followers
can tweet (optional)
Choose who to battle (risk: high/low)
Battle a follower by shaking gorilla
Earn points
can tweet new follower to let them know how you found them.
Spammy but innovative
Letter to Twitter.

It’s a silly idea but one that might be worth trying if you have a spare Twitter account sitting around. Here’s how it works…

After logging in (nice and safely using Twitter OAuth), you pick five followers to risk losing. You get the opportunity to send a tweet to them notifying them of the fact. Thankfully this entirely optional – no spam here unless you want to send it.

Next you choose an opponent. If you don’t want to bother one of your real Twitter followers you can choose to battle the game’s own account. The game itself involves shaking a gorilla with your mouse pointer. Why? I’ve no idea, and I don’t think it actually makes a difference to the game’s outcome.

Bet Your FollowersWhat looks to be really happening here is a randomised chance of winning or losing followers. If you win, you gain followers from your opponent while losing hands followers to the victor.

Bet Your Followers is a silly but mildly diverting game and the idea of followers-as-currency is at least novel. The San Francisco-based developers know they may incur the wrath of Twitter for using its API in this unorthodox way so they’ve published a ‘Dear Twitter’ letter on the site, which reads:

We realize that Bet Your Followers isn’t your typical Twitter app. We created it to examine new behaviors and explore the value of Twitter relationships. The reason we made an app that lets people risk their followers was to pose the question: If a mass of Twitter followers constitutes social currency, can it be gambled and exchanged like real currency?

We’ve been enthusiastic Twitter users since the early days and we genuinely value Twitter as a social service (not to mention as a lovely API — thank you!). Our own followers are dearly important to us. But as Twitter grows, we’ve watched the race to accrue followers become a strange obsession. Whenever a sizeable group believes something to be sacred, it historically falls to artists, scientists, and hackers to question and play with that assumption. It is with this curious spirit that we created Bet Your Followers. It was also a lot of fun to make.

We realize our efforts could be construed as a violation of your API Terms of Service but we hope you see the value in our exploration of these issues. We’d love it if you sent us a d-message before giving us the boot, if you’re even thinking of that — of course, we would never risk unfollowing you :-)