Wordle is the new global kehilla

...and its creator is a mensch


This photo illustration shows a person playing online word game "Wordle" on a mobile phone in Washington, DC on January 11, 2022. - Five letters, six attempts, and only one word per day: the formula for "Wordle" is simple, but for the past few weeks this online game has been stirring up social networks in the United States, and has since been adapted for a French-speaking audience. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds / AFP) (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

January 20, 2022 14:39

Babble, as any fule kno, comes from 'Babylon', and as the global conversation that is our wired world of social media gathers new fury with each passing day, how long can it be until the entire tower comes crashing down?

There’s the debasement of politics as extremists use populist forums to secure power.
Terror groups talk to each other to plot havoc through digital channels invisible to the authorities.

Deranged conspiracy theories infect gullible minds at the click of a button.

But until the electronic armageddon arrives, our digital era has at least thrown up a few delightful distractions to keep us entertained along the way, and I’ll confess to being thoroughly addicted to the latest fad: Wordle.

Superficially, it’s a word game, but there’s far more going on here than that.

Giving you six chances to guess a five-letter word, it’s essentially impossible to fail but is tricky enough to give you a satisfying sense of a challenge overcome.

In other words, it’s a deeply relaxing comfort blanket to turn to after the stresses of the day.
And the genius of Mr Wordle (that’s Brooklyn software engineer Josh Wardle, a true mensch who’s refused to take any money for his game) is to decide you can only play once a day.

That’s an instructive daily lesson in the joy of deferred gratification for our binge boxset era.

Players share their results on Twitter, showing how few or many goes it took them to crack the word.

I’ve noticed that many post their results at about the same time I play: shortly after midnight, when the latest puzzle is released online.

I imagine they are, as I am, tucked up in bed, staring at the screen in the dark for a final ritual before sleep.

The other night it struck me there was something oh-so-familiar about the whole routine. Then I realised: it’s just like the nightly bed-time Shema. And Wordle is our new global kehilla.

January 20, 2022 14:39

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