A few words about Random SMS Trivia.

Posted: July 18, 2011 in ChDV's life, Just for LULz, Random SMS Trivia

Just want to tell you a little bit about Random SMS Trivia, its purpose and some of the things I have to deal with in order to run it.

It all started about a year ago, shortly after I moved to an Optus plan with unlimited text messages. One night, when I was on the train, thinking about the structure of nasal cavity and the way it is connected with the oral cavity via nasopharynx, I came up with this stupid question: “Sometimes, when you laugh, milk comes out of your nose, but if you don’t drink any milk and it still comes out of your nose when you laugh, what can that be indication of?“. I decided to text this to a few people from my contact list, just to see what happens. It turned out to be fun.

I started sending random questions to the people from my contact list on a daily bases. It was really entertaining. Very often, the replies were so witty and funny, they were making me giggle out loud when I was in public. It seemed like the best time-killer ever.

After a certain time, one of the people, to whom I was sending these texts, suggested that I should make a list of the best replies and publish them on Facebook. I really liked the idea, so I went all the way back to the first message of that kind I send, traced all the replies I’ve been receiving from people, and compiled everything into a note, which I later published on Facebook. I named the entire thing Random SMS Trivia. I also decided to use an abstract reward system, in form of, so called, “ubies” (I came up with it, this word is random and doesn’t mean anything), which I was using as a measurement of how much I liked the responses (my personal favorite replies were receiving the largest amounts of ubies), and they also were making the compilation easier to read.

The feedback people gave me was generally positive, so I continued doing the thing.

I’ve managed to compile 2 volumes of Random SMS Trivia in 2010, and, I must admit, it was such a headache (working with hundreds of text-messages isn’t the funniest thing a person could do).

Also, the process of sending these texts to over 50 people itself required me to consider and deal with many different issues. The biggest problem I faced was that, while the majority of people seemed enjoying it, there were always a few who weren’t that enthusiastic about receiving these random questions every single day.

Some people were just politely asking me to stop sending them these messages, saying that the texts were too distracting for them, some were saying that they were offended by the fact that I send them these texts. People were asking me to stop for all sorts of reasons. One of the most hilarious explanations I’ve ever received was that their phone was too outdated and that there was not enough memory to store all the incoming SMSs.

I always satisfy such requests. Because the last thing I want is somebody’s stress levels jumping because of me.

Another thing that I try to keep in mind while coming up with these random questions is that they should be completely neutral, because you never know what some people might get offended by. It always saddens me when someone gets upset because of me, especially if I intend to do the opposite. I had a few situations when I was carelessly sending jokes to people about topics that were too sensitive for them, and then regretting not thinking carefully before doing so. I now always try not to sound like an as*hole and keep black humor at a minimal level (though, I’m still failing at this sometimes)…

After publishing the second volume, I finally installed the Group SMS app on my iPhone, which have been helping me managing my SMSing lists ever since. I don’t even know why it took me so long to find an application like this. It’s a real life saver.

I stopped doing Random SMS Trivia at the beginning of 2011, because people seemed to have lost all their enthusiasm towards it. In January, I was receiving only 2-3 replies per question, and those replies weren’t even funny. And it was too exhausting for me too, coming up with random nonsense every day, without getting any sensible results. So I just stopped.

It was only a few days ago when I decided to give it another shot. I now compile all the best replies and publish Random SMS Trivia at a higher frequency, every few days, so people can see the results instantly, which would, hopefully, keep them pumped for a little bit longer. Although, I’m not sure for how long I would last myself doing that. I’m still on my Uni-holidays, so I have some free time for the things like this. But the next semester is coming up, and I’ll probably become too overwhelmed by the study to keep Random SMS Trivia running at its full capacity.

Well, I’ll try to squeeze the most out of this during the next week :).


As a bonus, here is a few SMS conversations I had with random strangers in the last two days (when I was obtaining these numbers from a person, I asked them not to tell me the real names of these people, because I was curious to see how the conversations will go if I don’t know who I am talking to… I only new that they were 17). These transcripts don’t fall into the category of Random SMS Trivia, so I’m just publishing them here.

So, I got a few random numbers, and I send them all a text from last year Trivia: “How do you impress a person who likes to shower at 3 am?” (sent at 9:34 this morning)

The first reply I received was rather instant. At 9:36 I got:

– Hahaha what kind of a question is that? Explain more
– This is an open-ended question, the type of question that requires a complex answer (not just “yes” or “no”). You were asked to list some methods that could be used to impress a person who likes to shower at 3 am in the morning. I think the question is pretty self-explanatory.
– Who is this by the way? 
– It’s me.
– Well that’s not creepy… I just don’t understand the relevance of what time they shower, and whether that is counted as a bad activity in your opinion. 
[they tried to call me]
– That was naughty of you! Did you know that my cell phone is hooked up to a 7.1 sound system, and that I have a cat who is suffering from insomnia!?!?!?!?!? He just managed to go into a cat-nap, and you woke him up by rocking our house with your call! Is that how you answer simple SMS questions!?
– Hahahaha! I was hoping to get an answering machine. Sorry to the cat, your fault anyway for being all mysterious haha. Are you sure you have the right number.
– My answer is positive. 
– Dennis was your name right ? [how the hell did they knew? was it my grammar that gave me away?] How did you get my number ?
– Glenn gave it to me. For the sake of LOLs.
– Who the hell is Glenn?
– He is the person who gave me your phone number. Wasn’t that obvious?
– You really need to quit being so condescending, I don’t know glenn, let alone a Glenn that has my number. Wasn’t that obvious ? 

I added this number to the normal SMSing list. 10 hours later, when I send them another question, I received this:

– go away dennis, ***** shouldn’t have given you my number, I’m not interested in your questionnaire game. 
– Who is *****?…. Seriously though… You sure you want me to exclude your number from SMSing list? 47 people seem enjoying these questions (about 20 of them reply regularly). I compile the best and funniest replies and publish them every couple of days. You sure you want out? 
– Absolutely. 
– *epic-sadface*
– GO AWAY! i don’t want to text you, I didn’t give you my number willingly! I really need to be sleeping right now. I don’t need my phone vibrating so often because of you. Id appreciate it if you delete my number. 

I liked the last message I received from them. :) Also, I only discovered who they were a few hours. Interestingly, they already deleted me on Facebook :).

The other convo I had with another random stranger went like this:

– Who on earth is this?
– Hello, my name is Dr. Zoidberg. How are you today? 
– I’m great thanks, your self? 
– Bad! I’m sad, forever alone and depressed!!! But what else is new!?!?!? *bursts into tears* Anyway… How’s school?
– Man who’s this really?
– Why do you think that I’m lying to you!? Leave me alone! Don’t text me again!!!
– Sorry man
[they tried to call me after that]


These things can be really fun, can’t they?


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