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An Experiment in Miscommunication

This weekend I worked with Cuttle’s CTO David Govea on BrokenTele, a last minute idea for Node Knockout the 48 hour hackathon for web apps built on Node.js, a platform used by companies like Uber, LinkedIn and eBay.

We threw around some last minute ideas and ended up with BrokenTele, the game of online broken telephone coupled with the Twitter accounts of very trusting individuals. We could have done a better job with instructions on the site but it goes like this, Twitter users that have authorized the BrokenTele app can submit tweets to be broken by mentioning @brokentele or using #brokentele, the tweets are then fed into our games of online broken telephone to be ‘broken’.

We had to adapt the game of broken telephone to work online but basically one player reads a tweet while the other player attempts to type out what they hear. The results of the game are then tweeted from the account of the person who submitted that tweet. This may sound extremely stupid, confusing and downright crazy, but that’s the point. The game not only tests the communications skills of two complete strangers, it also tests how trusting a person can be with their Twitter account and how trust worthy a person will be writing the tweets.

BrokenTele was mostly chosen because it was a fun little project, but there’s more to it than that. Not only is BrokenTele a testament to how lean our development team has become, it also taught us a lot about the technologies we could implement into Cuttle. One of those is WebRTC, a bleeding edge technology that allows browser to browser voice and video calling. We’ve already done the research and produced a working prototype in the form of BrokenTele so if free voice and video calling between residents is something we want to implement in the future,we’ve just made our lives a little easier.  

BrokenTele was a great project for my first hackathon, but I have to give 99.999% of the credit to our amazingly talented CTO David Govea.


By Tim Ripley, Director of Activity

If you want to take a look at BrokenTele visit our Node Knockout page at

To submit a tweet you’ll need to authorize the app and tweet what you want ‘broken’ along with the hashtag #brokentele or mention us using @brokentele

To play broken telephone with a stranger visit the site and click the button, if there’s nobody playing invite a friend to join or come check back later.

BrokenTele is only associated with Cuttle in as much as it was built for fun by some of the Cuttle team in their own time. BrokenTele does not reflect the love and attention that has gone into Cuttle and is in no way supported or endorsed by Cuttle, but it’s still pretty awesome.