How Wordle a day keeps FOMO away


Those curious looking little cubes of green, yellow and grey that these days adorn tweets on Twitter and stories on Instagram – well that’s the newest craze getting everyone hooked. Yours truly discovered it in the same way when the colourful boxes got the better of me. A friend forwarded a link and the rest as they say is history.

No HISTORY is a 7 letter word. This won’t crack Wordle ever! For the uninitiated, Wordle is a word guessing game where you get 6 tries to figure out the 5 letter word of the day. Green means the letter is in the right spot. Yellow means it the right letter but in the wrong spot and Grey means it is all wrong. Created by Josh Wardle, he made it for his fiancé Palak Shah for her love of word games – what a love STORY! Aah that fits. It gives us 5 unique characters too but ARISE or OUIJA would be a better bet as strategically, vowel-packed words make some of the best first words! Or is it?

What’s TRULY special though is how in an age of apps this is a web link. For the first time in so many years I could use something that did not ask me to log in, share my email, phone number, make an account, download an app, asking for full kundlijanampatri – nothing! It was so easy. Imagine at a time when everyone from newspapers to your grocery delivery companies want you to download their app this chose the world wide web. No iOS snobbery, no exclusive club just play it on any browser! I was sold. What a TEASE. Search histories these days are full of “5 letter words”, “5 letter words with most vowels”, “5 letter word with I as the 2nd letter” and “words best suited for Wordle”.

But what explains the popularity of this new word SPORT!

For author Aparna Jain the answer is simple – “It is literally a 2 min brain exercise that I can do when I wake up” she says. “Even if I wake up at 3am, I post my results then. I don’t care who sees it and who doesn’t. I start with Wordle and end with NYT spelling bee.” It’s the same with many others. Insomnia Twitter is full of people up at odd hours sharing their Wordle scores and subsequently FROWN or are HAPPY depending on the score. Getting the word in 6 attempts means you have won it but the victory is SWEET when it is in the least possible tries. The first word is key and for some getting it in the first or second try is a sign of being SMART. Or plain LUCKY or did they CHEAT? Jain says she tried all tips and tricks but nothing guarantees a win. “Now I wake up and use the first word that comes to my head. One day it was CLOWN , the other day it was BORED.”

But what about the time the Wordle word was KNOLL and the day it was SHIRE. That’s when Twitter gave out a collective sigh! Knoll is a small round hill by the way. I Googled the word after I lost the game like many others did too!

Which is another reason for its appeal. Like for media professional Tanzila Anis sharing scores with her boyfriend is a great way to start the day. Another couple she knows waits till the morning to solve WORDLE together and see who is QUICK. Irrespective of which part of the world you are in, Wordle resets itself at 12 midnight and a new word is generated. Everyone gets the same word. Some are so emotionally attached that when Tanzila one day tweeted out the Wordle of the day there were quite a few upset people on her TL. Those who had not played got ANGRY. “I realized my mistake, it was a stupid thing to do” she says but never again.

Wordle is deeply satisfying for sure. Also the comfort of knowing you are using your grey matter and not merely crushing candies helps. Being able to share the score allows us our moment of dopamine rush and we can see everyone’s progress spoiler free. Probably this pandemic brain clings on to anything that gives us a sense of community. Everyone we know would have spent a few minutes of the day trying to find the same word. It’s exciting because you are competing with strangers and friends alike. Though not everyone is impressed. For journalist Shohini Bose, she never wants to try it and dreads Wordle scores on her TL. She has people like Ridhima Bhatnagar giving her company. A television anchor, Ridhima prefers old school crossword to this latest craze. “The need to be seen and heard on SM isn’t something I enjoy. It’s a job necessity otherwise I’d be happy off it” she tells me.

But for a majority, FOMO, the Fear of missing out, is motivation enough to Wordle at least once and then it is hard to stop, I can say from experience. Will this be another Dalgona coffee that got us all hooked and then the froth faded away or Clubhouse where the world descended only to forget all about it in a couple of weeks? We will have to wait and watch but for now as WORDLE addicts become impatient about the 24-hour waiting time for a new reset there is an archive of old Wordle games to give us company which takes us all the way back to DAY 1 – 06/20/2021. Divine GRACE, I say!

Meanwhile, there is a list of all the words for this month floating on Twitter somewhere, which I’m steadfastly trying to DODGE.

Now how is this for tomorrow’s first word?

Original Article

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