covers Farmville only slightly inaccurately


Following on the tail of's piece the other day, ABC World News host Diane Sawyer seems to have finally cottoned on to the growing importance of Facebook and social gaming. In a short video segment on, Sawyer talks with New York Times tech blogger Nick Bilton about Facebook, FourSquare, and, of course, Farmville.

After giving the world's quickest overview of the actual gameplay ("The concept is you plow land..." Bilton says helpfully), Bilton goes on to give a couple of close-but-not-quite accurate statements about the game. First, he tells Sawyer that "everyone gets the same size farm," which is true at the outset, but takes a quick turn towards inequality as people spend coins and Farmville Dollars on bigger plots.

Then Bilton talk a bit about the social aspects of the game, claiming that "I can actually send an invite out saying 'Hey, I'm not going to be there today, can someone go and farm my crops and take them to market?'" As any Farmville player knows, neighbors are limited to basic tasks like spreading fertilizer and chasing away raccoons on their friends' farms. That said, I think this virtual-farmtending feature would be an excellent addition to the Farmville landscape. I can just picture a new generation of 21st century indentured servants getting paid slave wages to tend to their friends' farms while they're away...

The piece finishes up with a skeptical-sounding Sawyer asking rhetorically, "What on earth would my parents, who both grew up on farms [think of Farmville]. This must seem the most lunatic thing on the face of the Earth to the real people who really get up at four in the morning to milk the real cows." Well Diane, it actually depends on
whoyou ask...