UWM professor explains how word game 'Wordle' became latest pandemic distraction

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A new popular online word game is giving people across the country a chance to test their strategy and vocabulary skills.

"Wordle" has become the latest pandemic distraction.

"My wife told me: 'Have you heard about this thing called Wordle?' And I said, 'no,' and then she said I should check it out," said Dr. Michael Mirer, a visiting assistant professor in UW-Milwaukee's Department of Journalism, Advertising and Media Studies.

Wordle is actually a play on words from its creator, Josh Wardle, a New York software engineer. Every day, this simple online game gives users six chances to guess a five letter word. Across the globe, everyone is playing the same word each day.

"That's something that social media is really good at, is creating these sort of simultaneous experiences while we're all separate from each other," Mirer said.

Mirer won't spoil Thursday's word. 

"I got it in four. My wife got in three," he said.

But he gave CBS 58 some insight into how this word game took the world by storm in just a few months.

"I think that if you could do 10 words a day, posting your one word wouldn't make any difference," he explained. "The limited nature of it does make it more of a phenomenon."

And it's not just social media, where users can post their daily scores, but it's also the pandemic that has brought out this fierce competition.

"We're all in our houses. We're all living our own lives. Yet in this one moment, we're able to sort of engage in a common activity and a common behavior," he explained.

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