Yes, it is in part a popularity contest, which is why I tended to draft twitter-ers who have more followers. But the people with huge followings often do not engage in the game seriously, so they often don't win the votes of the judges.
So, again, what does out-tweet mean?
- Well, it can be volume. That was certainly one of the strategies I used, as I could be online tweeting while doing my regular academic stuff more than some of the folks I played against who had jobs that took them away from twitter/computer and certainly those who were flying (pre-wifi in the skies those days of yesterday [two years ago]).
- It can be insight/utility. That is, one tweets stuff in one's area of expertise to produce high quality tweets--helping people to learn about that area.
- It should involve engagement--that the twitter fighter engages the adversary, the judges and those following the players. Twitter is far more interactive than blogs (indeed, some judges discount links to blogs), and so to be a good twitter fighter, one should be engaging those who follow you. Some judges will test the twitter fighters by asking questions or offering challenges. One would be wise to follow the judges of your round for at least the day of that round. [Yes, some ego stroking might be involved]
- Funny but not brutal snark is a key ingredient. The idea of this tourney is to have banter among those doing national security stuff. So, funny tweets or strategies (someone came up with a fake twitter account of @exumAM's beard). In my last couple of rounds in my finalist campaign, I came up with some meme-ish graphics that were fun (at least to me):
I have already seen a number of players make amusing boasts and offering challenges. The key is to keep things in the spirit of the game. I have made more than a few friends and some valuable connections with the people who defeated me, those who I beat, and those who were in other parts of the brackets. Twitter fight club may seem like a time suck, but it has been very, very good to me.