While March Madness continues to unfold, there's a way geekier sporting event of sorts taking place on the Web. There's no money involved or athletic talent required. All that's needed is a Twitter account and an interest in taking part in some pure and unadulterated tomfoolery.
I'm speaking, of course, of the Twitter Color Wars, an online event/club/social network/mind control experiment created by Welebrity Ze Frank. It's a wonderfully overcomplicated way to take advantage of the hordes of people using Twitter to recreate a virtual color war using the service's following and direct messaging features.
Joining one of the existing teams is as simple as following a team leader. Each team has its own templates for changing your background and profile picture to match the horde. To create your own team all you have to do is provide the site with your special team Twitter account log-in (note--there are already plenty of teams so just join one instead). Ze Frank is using the log-ins to send out system-wide messages to participants, effectively acting as a Twitter administrator using the API.
So, what's the point? Already there's been a simultaneous text-based Ro-Sham-Bo (Rock-Paper-Scissors) game played earlier today. A video version of the contest is being unveiled on Monday. There was also a fanmade Guitar Hero top score competition, and a Color Wars theme song challenge. I have no idea what's coming next, but that's part of the fun.
One site that's tracking the entire endeavor is TwitterColorWar.com. You can see which teams have the most members (updated by the hour). There's also a channel that tracks smack talk amongst the various teams as noted by the "#smacktalk" hash in people's tweets. Since Twitter is an open platform, enterprising developers could create their own little games and apps if people manage to care care long enough.
Here at Webware we're not giving out an official endorsement mostly because our allegiances are skewed. I'm a member of the plaid team, while Caroline--being the front runner she is--is a member of FF1CAE team (also known as magenta). You can find the entire listing of teams here.
As a word of advice, if you intend on interacting with some of the challenges, it might be a good idea to install a desktop client like Twhirl (review) or Snitter (review) if you want to stay on top of your game. The notification features on both make it easy to see if you're getting a message from your team leader. In the case of yesterday's rock paper scissors game, there was only a minute to send out your tweet, so timing is important.