Thursday, April 17, 2008

Seminar Response

I felt like some good ideas were flushed out during the seminar. The biggest question I had coming in dealt with the appeal of such an online existence. Reading Jenkins and Rheingald it was clear that users felt a sort of connectivity and augmented existence that, for some reason, couldn't be satisfied through 'real-life' living alone. It was interesting to here testimony from peers that had first-hand experience with the virtual world. My peers mentioned computer games like World of Warcraft and MUDs. I've never participated in such online worlds, but from their testimony, mostly positive, it seems like they believed the experiences and skills one learns on such a virtual world can translate into real life skills. I'm a bit skeptical about this, although I do appreciate what Jenkins has mentioned, that skills such as multi-tasking and appropriation and collectivity can be learned on such virtual worlds. To me it seems like, if anything, skills like this can't only be learned on virtual worlds, that instead one must have a basic understanding and ability and these virtual worlds simply augment skills one has already learned. I mean that one can't simply be thrust in front of a computer and be expected to learn such useful skills.

I liked listening to people that were against the whole idea of online existence. I felt like, to them, it was an affront on actuality and real-life living. To me they seemed offended by the whole idea of existing online, of having a "second life".

I'm skeptical that things such as second life can increase real-life skills. To me the parameters of these games and the limitations inherent in the methods of communications make the translation of skills learned on these virtual worlds to the real-world extremely difficult. One peer did mention to me the hiring of a director for Google who was an avid online-world participant and manager, the idea being that he'd already proved his ability to co-ordinate and manage people he didn't know.

No comments: