Social Media as Story Element?

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Linwood
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Social Media as Story Element?

Postby Linwood » Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:47 am

No, this isn't about using Facebook, Twitter etc to enhance your game. There are people on this board who are better qualified than I to speak to that.

This is more just some random thoughts on how one could incorporate social media in their own campaigns. It seems likely most (if not all) high-tech worlds would have something of the sort, from world-spanning VR interaction to a chat board on a research station featuring cute <insert name of favorite pet> holos, idle gossip and anonymous complaints about Director Dictator.

The easiest way would be to just throw in references as local color. Maybe the Travellers get intel about a person of interest from their personal social media page, or they get a job offer thru an anonymous recruiting board. Casual conversation in the bar might revolve around a meme they've somehow missed. A potential contact keeps looking down at the latest posts on his/her comm instead of listening to the character.

There's also some great story potential. The Travellers w/ their high-tech computers might be hired on a mid-tech world by a noble or celebrity who wants them to track down a notorious troll. A political campaign might offer to pay them to combat false rumors and fake news (or retaliate in kind).

There's also the cultural angle. Imagine a high-tech world where everyone is required to participate in social media (as a particularly insidious form of social control, perhaps). Or the opposite - a world w/ a hyperdeveloped sense of privacy where all social media are are banned.

Last thought in a Dr Who sort of vein - what about a world where all visitors are required to wear tracking devices and all their activities are live-cast on streaming sites for the public to enjoy? Think of the possibilities....
ShawnDriscoll
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Re: Social Media as Story Element?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:44 pm

All of the above.

I have Spacebook in my games.
paltrysum
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Re: Social Media as Story Element?

Postby paltrysum » Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:48 pm

Great ideas. Information is proliferated through Imperial space mostly be X-boats and traders, but outside that realm, things become a little more varied. Tall tales tend to emerge from the planets in the Void with more dubious methods of confirmation. The ubiquitous presence of holo media in more civilized space vs. artificially generated or enhanced records of events that happened in the Void or enemy space could make for some great subplots.

The players in my campaign got their second job based on the achievements of their first. At least one of them was uncomfortable with the notoriety they achieved.
"Spacers lead a sedentary life. They live at home, and their home is always with them—their starship, and so is their country—the depths of space."
Linwood
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Re: Social Media as Story Element?

Postby Linwood » Fri Jul 07, 2017 1:42 am

ShawnDriscoll wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:44 pm
All of the above.

I have Spacebook in my games.
And - Chatter?
8)
ShawnDriscoll
Cosmic Mongoose
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Re: Social Media as Story Element?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:53 pm

Linwood wrote:
Fri Jul 07, 2017 1:42 am
ShawnDriscoll wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:44 pm
All of the above.

I have Spacebook in my games.
And - Chatter?
8)
Spacebook owns Google and YouTube and Facebook and Hulu and Netflix and SoundCloud and Twitter and all other directives of them. Amazon is still around though. But it's not the same company it used to be.
Hopeless
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Re: Social Media as Story Element?

Postby Hopeless » Fri Jul 07, 2017 4:33 pm

Max Headroom?

Is there a thriving trade in media?

Like that episode in Andromeda where Becka's brother stole her antique music collection to sell?

Lord how much would it be worth to live cast or record investigating wrecks perhaps even distant colonies since not everyone can travel off world or want to if its especially dangerous uninhabited worlds or moons for that matter?
Linwood
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Re: Social Media as Story Element?

Postby Linwood » Sun Jul 09, 2017 4:04 am

Hopeless wrote:
Fri Jul 07, 2017 4:33 pm
Max Headroom?

Is there a thriving trade in media?

Like that episode in Andromeda where Becka's brother stole her antique music collection to sell?

Lord how much would it be worth to live cast or record investigating wrecks perhaps even distant colonies since not everyone can travel off world or want to if its especially dangerous uninhabited worlds or moons for that matter?
I'm kicking around thoughts like that - maybe have the group stumble across a mega-celebrity who vanished from his home world to take a break on a different world. I'm thinking it would possibly be worth as much as a few thousand Cr for a recording on a gossip news blog....
steve98052
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Re: Social Media as Story Element?

Postby steve98052 » Thu Jul 13, 2017 5:36 pm

The idea of selling recordings of adventures makes a journalist an interesting potential character type.
"Eneri, can you do something exciting to spice up this episode?"
"Thoeguhr, can you show some more fangs?"
"Sewiylef, can you roar next time you bite one of those -- um -- whatever they are?"

"Hey, Panyopas! Try to be a little discreet next time. Maybe they're not going to shoot you because of that 'press' hat. But they might just chuck a few grenades where you're pointing your camera, and then you might end up embedded in our blood and guts."
steve98052
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Re: Social Media as Story Element?

Postby steve98052 » Thu Jul 13, 2017 7:11 pm

Also, I love "Spacebook' as a social media name, at least for a game that's not too serious.

I've always assumed some sort of net connectivity.

Back in the dark ages of dial-up (which started in 1978 or 1979 for me), I assumed that player characters would go to a place similar to what later became known as an Internet cafe -- a bunch of public terminals one could rent by the hour -- to read classified ads for cargo. I should have had passengers connect that way too, but instead I had them visit travel agencies; I hadn't thought about how Expedia and such would displace human travel agents for everything except special package tours. I didn't think to actually charge an hourly rate for using the terminals; that's too much bean counting, and I could have treated it as a standard service included with berthing fees if I had thought about it.

Later, I imagined how interstellar mail would propagate. Physical mail would travel on ships following a regular schedule, with a day or so sorting lag at each intermediate port, plus ship-wait lag on routes that didn't have daily service. I figured out a cost, based on grams times jumps, or maybe grams times parsecs, but I didn't think that through very well. More reasonable would have been prices by volume (micro-fractions of dtons), with a price per jump that depended on the distance and traffic volume on each segment, or maybe a fixed rate that approximated the cost of the most expensive segments.

Anything that has to go out of normal routes -- crossing hostile borders, requiring Jump-5 or Jump-6 packet service, etc. -- would be very expensive. Packet service might require a role-play encounter, searching for a Navy person willing to carry a letter or parcel in his, her, or its personal baggage.

In a later era, I imagined how e-mail would work. The per-port sorting lag would be essentially zero, but the ship-wait lag would still exist, averaging around a day on xboat routes, and a day to a month along less busy routes. Standard service would travel only on xboats and ships with the designated 5 dton mail service, and would be constrained by the routes served by xboats and mail ships. Express service would travel through the computers of any ship passing through a system that was willing to devote some computer and communication bandwidth to express e-mail, at a premium cost.

More complicated, e-mail would also have two addressing models: known and unknown destination. A known address would be something like, "Eneri Shamashalakimashum, ES Cargo Brokerage, Regina". An unknown address would be something like, "Gaenaeng Ioukfarrg, Extolay person number 1081-062-4096, expiration 180 days, delivery boundary 32 parsecs from Efate", or, "Li Panyopas, Roup person number 1067-340-476004", expiration 120 days, delivery boundary 15 parsecs from Lanth, 15 parsecs from the free trader Skadi".

The known addressing is pretty simple; the message would travel along the most expeditious route to Regina, enter planetary e-mail (and possibly planetary censorship, since it's a fairly high law world, though a broker might work inside the extraterritorial boundary). The main complication there is if the destination is a place outside e-mail service, such as away from the starport on a low technology world. Then it would be printed and dropped into local paper mail, presumably with that fee rolled into the sender's payment.

The unknown addressing is more complicated. It would be sent to the nearest xboat port in every direction, and the last known location of the recipient person and-or ship looked up. The possible distance the person or ship could have traveled since the last known location reached the xboat station's computer is calculated, and the message sent to fill that entire region of space. Assuming the message is received, if it's large, a cancelation message would enter the system, and delete any copies still circulating. If it never finds the intended recipient, it expires after the expiration date.

For extra cost, a sender could request a delivery receipt, which itself could be addressed known or unknown addressing. (A recipient might set their e-mail preferences to allow location in a delivery receipt or not, depending on the correspondent.) The receipt wouldn't say whether the recipient actually read a message, just whether it could be delivered.

News would work pretty much the same way, but the addressing might be, "All subscribers within 40 parsecs of Glisten", or "All class 15 subscribers within 15 parsecs of Vland, all class 32 subscribers within 32 parsecs of Vland, and all universal subscribers throughout the Imperium and e-mail treaty regions". A particularly large delivery area with a particularly small subscription list would probably be delivered like individual unknown addressing messages, but the system would figure that out.

Prices? I don't have time for that right now.
Condottiere
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Re: Social Media as Story Element?

Postby Condottiere » Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:56 pm

Captains might not want their crew linking with the local net from their ships, so the starport/town internet cafe is likely.

Burner phones and laptops should be a lucrative trade.
mancerbear
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Re: Social Media as Story Element?

Postby mancerbear » Sun Oct 01, 2017 12:41 am

My players have their travellers use social media all the timr
time to research people, find reviews, and discover what's big on new worlds. Invaluable.
Sinanju
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Re: Social Media as Story Element?

Postby Sinanju » Sun Oct 08, 2017 4:32 am

One of the things I'm really liking about the Traveller setting (especially compared to the just-like-the-real-world global, instantaneous real-time communication of Star Trek, Dark Matter, The Orville and so forth) is the absence of FTL communication.

Yes, on high-tech worlds, you'll have instantaneous world-wide communication, and social media. Perhaps even between worlds and their moons (a half-second lag between earth and moon would be slightly annoying, but doable). But for communication between, say, Earth and Mars, or Earth and Jupiter? No. Not for trivia like social media posts. If it gets transmitted at all, it will be in the form of data files on ships moving between distant worlds, or between systems. And the farther it has to go, the more expensive it becomes (even if data is weightless, the travel has minimal costs that have to be covered). Most communications between systems are going to be only official info, or info valuable enough to the sender and/or receiver to pay the freight on it.

Updates to important databases? Yes. Updates to the public key registry of governments, corporations and individuals so messages and financial activities can be verified? Yes. The latest episodes of The Galaxy Turns? Only if there are fans eagerly waiting to pay for them. Etabytes of outdated social media posts? No.

So, events on high tech worlds will be as extensively documented as events on modern-day Earth. But events on other worlds? Other high-tech worlds? We'll get the videos eventually, but news and rumors will travel faster. And on worlds where that kind of tech *isn't* widely available? Mostly rumors and "news" that may or may not turn out to be reliable.
Condottiere
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Re: Social Media as Story Element?

Postby Condottiere » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:13 am

Treat disk drives as cargo.

Then you have to figure capacity and file size; a 265 hevc 720p one hour would be three hundred megabytes?

Bittorrent would be a chain of destinations paying for their part of the voyage.
Linwood
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Re: Social Media as Story Element?

Postby Linwood » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:29 am

Could be a “mail run” as a part of regular shuttle service. Carrying a few terabytes (or even etabytes) of social media data as a subscription service would be easy enough.

Or - what about the data arrays x-boats use?
Condottiere
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Re: Social Media as Story Element?

Postby Condottiere » Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:12 pm

How much space would a pure text message take?

At technological level twelve, we might be at subatomic level of binary coding, so how much information would a compact disc would hold?

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