Rabbits Holes in Social Media

During Thursday’s class on social media, each group presented on different forms of social media that could be used for potential rabbit holes. Each platform had its own pros and cons to them, some easier to navigate than others. As our group decided on what platform to present on, we had to weigh the options of what elements would make up a “successful” rabbit hole. By going forth with Pinterest, we were able to create a very subtle rabbit hole, spelling out the url for argcourse.com. Some of the challenges we faced along the way was formatting the pinned posts to look like how we wanted it to, as we noticed that the display of the pinterest board varied based on one’s screen size. When choosing a social media platform to create a rabbit hole, I would not suggest Pinterest, as there wasn’t much room for growth or multiple directions it could lead to. It limited what we could do for a rabbit hole.

After watching the other groups present on their rabbit hole via different platforms, such as Tinder, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., it made me wonder what else could these platforms be used for. It’s easy to mimic someone’s identity or create a fake person’s profile on these platforms, easily creating a fake yet plausible character for an ARG and a successful rabbit hole. A rabbit hole is a good starting point to serve as a hint for a game player, but what else can it be used for? During the time that our group constructed our own rabbit hole to be playtested by the class for our ARG, I wondered what else we could use it for.

Our rabbit hole consisted of manipulating Facebook to create an account named “Aspen Groves” along with a “Lost and Found Under UChicago Trees.” Based on the success of one of the group’s fake Facebook account and the various interactions you can create with potential players, it seemed like a good way to introduce the game. In one post in the lost and found page, we had someone post a found piece of paper that revealed our website url. The website url showed a cryptic tree along with a seed on the side, which when clicked, prompted the player to a 2048 game which must be solved to reveal the designated location, the Regentree. Additionally, there were coordinates on the website that led to the tree. I left a map of UC Hicago and the X’s represented areas depleted of resources by the tree base and one of our classmates discovered it. At this point, the rabbit hole was concluded and people have been introduced to the game.

However, that is not the end of the rabbit hole. The format of our game uses the trees and by having this Facebook group, our starting point for the rabbit hole, we can reveal to the players various clues along the way through either losing or finding items under trees and reporting it on the Facebook page. Just like how other games use communication platforms like Discord, the Facebook page will serve as a way for players to share what they have found throughout the game. Although the rabbit hole was the starting point, its use is still alive and does not have to end once played out.

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