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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Social Media Snippets

Although places like facebook, mixi, twitter, and the soon to be forgotten myspace are probably what people around here might think of when the subject of online social media comes up, there's actually some things that could also be considered as part of this concept. My first interactions with this were IRC (internet relay chat) back in the '90s. I also had something that used voice chat but you pretty much talked to someone random and if you weren't lucky you didn't speak the same language.

I think a common misconception is that the word "media" means "press." It actually means "a way of communication" ( So, any social way of communication falls into this category. The current concept pretty much came as a replacement for good old fashioned water cooler gossip and expanded into people sharing their lives with each other. Although early e-mail and chat rooms are the roots of the current social media concept, I believe that it was gaming that really made it explode. The first real social online game was Ultima Online. This opened the way for Everquest, the first explosively large MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game). What made these games stand out was that they were effectively the combination of a game and a chat room. Now, sitting at your computer playing games didn't mean a lack of human interaction. In fact, this human interaction was a key selling point of the game. What ended up happening is that people ended up completely hooked on these games. At pretty much any time, you can always have someone to talk to. For people who are shy, agoraphobic, or lonely it lets them meet others without all of that seeing each other's faces that always gets in the way.

more notes to come later...maybe some jokes as well


  1. Again, the whole MUD, MOO, and MMORPG is completely foreign to my internet experience - though I have spent some time in IRCs.

    I do remember playing text based "adventure" type games when I had a PC which was not connected to the internet (TRS-80 from radio shack).

    Watching the video you shared on an earlier post (The Guild - I believe) and reading your post makes me feel that I've missed something.

    Is there are an upper-age limit when people are considered too old to learn to play such "games?"

    Also, have you or anyone any recommendations for where and how to begin learning more about such gaming??

  2. I had written a response but it seems it got lost.

    As for the age range, I've seen people from early teens up through retirement ages. I've played these games with people in their 60s and 70s before. Its a good way to spend time for them because many of them have nothing to do all day. A lot of the online multiplayer games are actually easy enough for anyone to play. In the case of World of Warcraft, a lot of people just set their shortcut buttons and then just push them mindlessly in a muscle memory pattern. Other games, such as Final Fantasy XI, require more expertise, timing, and teamwork so it didn't appeal to as wide of an age range as WoW did.

    I guess the best way to start learning is to just jump in and try it. I think Guild Wars is probably the best one to try since it doesn't have monthly fees and is easy enough to just pick up and play. Final Fantasy XIV is subscription free for now and will be a little more technical. Another good one to try that is subscription free is DDO (Dungeons and Dragons Online).

    One thing that's interesting is how many times I've seen families play these games together. I've seen a lot of couples play together, but also parents with their kids. I'll never forget my friend tweeting that his daughter hit level 80 (max level in WoW).

  3. Thanks for the info, Steven.

    The family that plays plays online together ....................
    (fill in the blank)

  4. Honestly, I've noticed that gamer families stick together pretty well.