Rules of Play

What is it?

“Viral Sockpuppets” is a character driven crowd-sourced interactive narrative, played within the YouTube community.

Objective:

To network YouTubers together and create a free flowing fun story that challenges players to push their creativity to new depths and encourages the growth of subscribers on each players channel. Each character is playing for control of the protagonist and the audience.

How to begin:

  • Create a “Sockpuppet” character for you to participate in the story with.
  • Create a “Public Profile Page” on Facebook that will serve as a fan page and a character data sheet.
  • Take several photographs of your character and post them to your public Facebook page.
  • Create an account on YouTube and begin a channel. If you already have an existing YouTube account you may use it.
  • Create a web-series that plays within the archetypes of the YouTuber community. This will allow you to begin your series quickly, while communicating to the community with an already established vocabulary. (Feel free to experiment with the formats, but once your series is created, its important to keep your character consistent for the development of the story.)
The six YouTube archetypes are:
  1. The Reality Vlogger is a user with a channel full of first-person style short documentaries detailing their daily lives. They bring a camera with them wherever they go and narrate events, such as going to amusement parks, shopping at the mall or documenting family outings. These videos have generally no budget and lots of fast paced jump cuts.
  2. The Tutor is a video maker specializing in some form of educational tutorial. Often they have slightly higher budgets then the average YouTuber because of product placement within their videos. They have been known to use sexuality and comedy to attract viewers.
  3. The Conspiracy Theorist is generally a low/no budget YouTuber that develops content with only a computer web camera. The content generally consists of paranoid delusions and grandiose theories of some “Man” that is some how “Out to get him or her”.
  4. The Political Pundit is a disillusioned citizen of some voting demographic that feels the need to create videos in support of their political party or to slander the integrity of their opposing political party. A general rule of thumb for these users is that they are against whatever political party happens to be in power at the time. If they are always in conflict with the government they will always have some sort of conflict to talk about.
  5. The Celebrity Sucker is one of the most disrespected, yet extremely popular users on YouTube. The content published to this kind of channel is generally ripped off and recycled from other sources. The goal is to gain notoriety, popularity, and subscribers from siphoning off the success of other more original content creators. This user rarely develops any original creative content and if they do it is usually some kind of embarrassing celebrity stalking exploitation paparazzi clip.
  6. The Entertainer is one of the most respected users within the YouTube community. This type of channel generally creates only original content, often comedy based, sometime dramatic, but usually with no other agenda than to entertain the audience. However, this user has the most difficult time building a large subscription base and receives the most negative feedback when a video does not have a decent budget and is not very well produced.

How to play:

  • The narrative is already in progress. You must subscribe to each “official” character channel and catch up on the narrative by watching the Viral Sockpuppets Press News Brief series.
  • Create episodes of your own web-series which will establish your character as part of the YouTube community and think about how your story fits together with the other players.
  • Every other week the protagonist will post a video that contains some sort of dilemma.
  • Immediately the players will begin to create response videos that will explain (in their own creative way) how to resolve the dilemma.
  • At the end of the week, the Viral Sockpuppets Press will release a news brief, which will link the audience to each response video, and request the audience to vote for their favorite narrative idea by click the “LIKE” button on the original YouTube page for their favorite option.
  • On the Friday following the news brief, the votes will be counted and the protagonist will create a new “dilemma” video that pursues the winning narrative idea.
  • The player with the winning video response will receive a point.
  • This “call and response” will repeat, organically developing the narrative until a player wins 2 points.
  • The first player to win 2 points, will win control of the protagonist. The current protagonist will create a collaborative video with the winning player, resolving the current narrative and beginning a new one featuring the new protagonist.
  • The narrative play will continue until all of the YouTubers on the internet have become part of the experience.
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