I’ve been writing about “reply girls,” this YouTube phenom for those that don’t know, for the last couple of days. Which means I’ve been knee-deep in YouTube drama for that entire time.
Yeah, some of you may make fun of me for what my work has become. You snooty business reporters, activists, gardening bloggers, social media consultants! (I sometimes make fun of myself for not keeping up on what my alderman, or Mayor Emanuel is doing. Don’t give me more shit than I already give myself, please…)
Some part of me respects these ladies for figuring out how to game the system in such a short amount of time. It’s ingenious? And my heart goes out to these ladies, for the amount of cyber abuse they are getting now, just because they were able to effectively highlight this flaw (not just in YouTube, but in human nature).
Nothing sadder than a reply girl in a push-up trying to choke back tears for the third day in a row.
This moment, in my research, made me laugh. (You wouldn’t get it if you didn’t know YouTube.)
The Funny Thing about Twitter:
the other day “roman sandals” appeared
twice on my twitter
Some time later, romansandals starts following me
Romans: stealer of gods but not the shoe soles of whores
I am wary-
in bare cyber space, more than one user
leads to no safe place
so I leave no indent in the dirt, no greek tweet
and romansandals offers no akolouthi,
no use of language, or other “come follow me”
a user with more than
a thousand to read
a thousand to mark
a thousand for triumph, esteem
a thousand for fanning the line
romansandals leads me to a blog that exists
and no viral ambush awaits
in the given net space, but
shoes and paparazzi, the Furies of celebrity
and the cheapness of the page, the turning
of the same old tricks
slur the said citizen in me
what roman sandals are these?
no Romans walked in sandals like these!
where is the sure-footed confidence? the feeling of weight placed,
equal on each side
the sense of purpose and physical pride-
give and take, to communicate?
Instead, I am offered the burden of never-ending youth
and the pain of a crooked spine
I shunned the offer,
and as the oracles in the ether said,
it came to pass
romansandals no longer acknowledges me
It is 2010, and techno-phobes are crying over our youth’s inability to communicate without a machine and somehow we’ve lost the subtle art of conversation. Social media is more popular than ever, and even the video game industry (from Xbox Live to Steam) has gotten into the online community-building business.
The exact percentage of the US population that plays video games is unclear, but lies between 68% (the Critical Gaming Project), and 87% males/ 80% females (2009 chart from gameindustry.com). The percentage of the population that plays video games online ( chance for addiction increases) hovers around 58% for males, and 42% for females.
According to some Australian researchers, 1 out of 10 gamers is addicted, but I have a hunch that percentage might be higher. My hunch is based off of Cracked.com’s most excellent piece “5 creepy Ways Video Games Are Trying to Get you Addicted“. For those about to scoff at the idea of being addicted to something that “isn’t even real”, David Wong counters with:
Your brain treats items and goods in the video game world as if they are real. Because they are.
If it takes time, effort and skill to obtain an item, that item has value, whether it’s made of diamonds, binary code or beef jerky.
After all, people pay thousands of dollars for diamonds, even though diamonds do nothing but look pretty. A video game suit of armor looks pretty and protects you from video game orcs. In both cases you’re paying for an idea.
If you or your significant other is a gamer, chances are, there is some form of neglect going on in your relationship.
Before I address the right ways to go about approaching your significant other when you feel they’ve been playing video games for too long, I would first like to address the wrong ways. And while this “How-To” might seem obvious to some, it apparently isn’t when you consider the magnitude of people using the wrong methods to deal with their video gaming significant others.
THE WRONG WAY TO GET YOUR GAMER’S ATTENTION
1) Destroying your significant others gaming property, from deleting characters to destroying consoles
The internet is littered with videos of gaming equipment being destroyed by significant others. Despite many internet users proclaiming these videos as fake, the destruction of property in each video is too real (and also could be deemed illegal in some cases). There is a reason these videos are popular – these videos appeal to both the gamer who fears their significant other will do this to their machines, and to the significant other who sympathizes with the person doing the smashing.
The most recent video to make the rounds of the internet is “Girl deletes WoW Characters, Dude destroys Computer”
When I first saw FarmVille on Facebook, I immediately shunned it. At one moment in time, it felt like all of my female Facebook friends were doing it, so therefore I wanted to have nothing to do with it. I took the saying “If all your friends are doing it, would you?” to heart. I am a skeptic of the unanimously popular.
I freely admit that as a grown up, this now makes me a jerk. What can I do though? It’s my initial gut reaction. Also, inside my head, there’s a 15 year old male gamer, scoffing at the farm game, and probably questioning my sexuality. Real gamers don’t play FarmVille, right? Even if you’re playing for an hour a day, every day, you could never EVER be a “gamer” because you played Farmville. Those are the facts of gaming life, I am pretty sure.
A couple days ago, I happened to read “Nice Guys, Stressed Ladies, And The Curious Ways They Play Video Games” by Leigh Alexander, and it made me want to play Farmville. It was this quote, in particular:
“It just feels really good to know that I’m on top of things,” she tells me, chewing on her straw a little nervously as she explains why she’s so into FarmVille. “I like to know my farm is in good shape and, like, everyone can see it.”
The article goes on to mention how games are used as escapism, or control, or a coping mechanism, or some other psychological reason proving we are still so tortured despite our tremendous technology…. (except, I added the weird philosophical wane on technology at the end). What I am trying to say is, I too, want to feel like I have my shit together….and with FarmVille, I can knock out being social, AND get that the fake accomplishment/satisfaction feeling from having an orderly farm. And everyone seeing that I have an orderly farm. I have healthy cows. My chickens lay nice eggs. My crops are fertile. I have accomplished something very important today.
… But then I pull up the FarmVille website, and I am instantly terrified. I can’t click on anything in the page. This is a game…? It doesn’t look like a game. The website tells me nothing… Except… if I want more information, I must sign into Facebook.
Here is the other part of the dilemma: I can’t sign into Facebook, because then everyone will know that I am now playing FarmVille. I am a proud member of the “I dont care about your farm, or your fish, or your park, or your mafia!!!” Facebook group. Or, at least that is what I tell myself, the “myself” that has been influenced by gaming males…. But enough about males: either way, can I go back on my digital word? Do I need to create a fake Facebook account so I can play FarmVille? Why do I even care that much about FarmVille to consider making a fake account!? (Why, FarmVille, why have you eaten at my psyche like so?)
As if on cue, last evening I stumbled upon this NPR story on older female players and “Bejeweled” (…which also happened to mention FarmVille):
“What you find is a lot of women who are both working and raising children just have no time for relationships,” says Misiek Piskorski, who teaches about online social networking at the Harvard Business School. “But it’s not like they wouldn’t want to spend more time having these relationships. It’s just really, really hard. And this allows them to basically sustain these relationships.” Piskorski says the games aren’t taking away from face-to-face interactions. They’re just replacing time these women would’ve spent watching TV or some other media. And for busy King, that’s good enough.
I played Bejeweled (and Mah Jong tiles, JT’s Blocks, Text Twist and many many others) during my free periods all through high school, so I am all Bejeweled out at this point in my life. But NPR, mentioning FarmVille when I am already wrestling with my decision of the game? Are you listening to my thoughts, NPR?
I do like that these social networking games are the new way of “doing lunch”, or “grabbing some coffee”, but should I replace actual face time with digital time? I can reach more of my friends by interacting with them digitally, but do I lose something when sacrificing actual face to face interaction? Is this a trade-off I want to make? As I age, I wonder if I really need to keep up this “gamer cred”. What is the point in impressing the “young male gamers” in my head when I am in my mid-20’s? If I play a game to relax and unwind, does it matter what kind of game it is?
My boyfriend jokes that he will break up with me if I got addicted to FarmVille, so I guess gamer cred still lives on at my age… Maybe I should stick to Team Fortress 2 as my “coping mechanism“…..