“#Notifications” Seeks to Create Empathy for Victims of Online Harassment
Online bullying is a sensitive issue, so it seems only inevitable that someone attempt to recreate the experience through a short indie game. Designed to encourage empathy for victims, #Notifications walks you through a few days in the life of @meta_social, a self-described social justice mage who occasionally expresses “sometimes interesting” views.
Your first tweet–excuse me, Twiddle–is simple: An expressed hope that the next day be interesting. Engagement with other Twiddle members is low, with just a quick note that someone has favorited you the next day. But on day 2, as you sit on the bus, the game gives you some options on what to send out to your followers. A series of happy Twiddles complaining about the weather, getting ramped up over Daredevil…or a light criticism of attacks on women, black people, and other marginalized groups.
Guess what happens when you pick the last one.
You can choose to engage with your abusers or avoid them entirely, but regardless, the notifications do not stop coming…and coming…and coming. Really, there’s nothing you can do to stop the flood of hate barreling towards you, and the incessant beeping of your phone (seriously, 200+ new notifications?) starts to feel harassing and annoying. But where someone might decide to put the phone on silent, turn off notifications, or uninstall the app, #Notifications makes you keep checking and reading to progress, confronting everyday harassment head-on.