Friday, 18 February 2011
Do we want this? Do we need this? Do we already have this?
I should say now that I know people can be very pro or very anti FB. I'm kind of ambivalent, I'm realistic enough to know that I'd lose touch with a lot of people if I didn't have FB to keep me up to date with their lives; and to forestall the arguments: yes, I know we did manage pre-FB. I'm old enough to remember life without the internet and mobile phones, and the first music I bought was on vinyl. I'm not going to debate whether or not social networks are A Good or Bad Thing, I'm just talking about the reality of 'now' *breathes*. I'm grateful that I can see pictures of my friends hen/stag nights, weddings, birthdays, kids etc (especially as I can do so quickly if I want, minus the running commentary and without having to feign interest in every single damn shot!) So whilst I'm not madly pro - I update about once every two days and I rarely, if ever chat on there, and I have... less than 100 friends (which makes me the most terrible loser in the eyes the Girls who have... lemme go check exact numbers, 790 (omfg! gulp!) and 171 (less gulp) friends respectively) I'm not anti either. Himself is Anti. Himself has Strong Opinions about FB and the data it gathers/holds on people who aren't even signed up to it...
I do have 'WoW friends' on FB. Them being the people who I no longer have much contact with in-game (mainly due to server differences) but who I like to keep up to date with. But hells' teeth, it's a weird conversation to have. It's bad enough in RL. I'm old enough not to just chuck FB friend requests to everyone I meet - case in point, whilst Himself isn't on FB, his friends are, some of whom I'd like to add, but there's that slightly odd convention about whether or not it's appropriate. So I haven't. Discretion being the better part of valour and all. And I appreciate that there are people like Himself (who I don't think is in the minority here) who want their WoW/online lives separate from their RL/offline lives. And that's totally understandable and fine.
So do we have an MMO equivalent of FB? (I know there's Twitter but gods I can't fathom it out.) Would we want there to be an equivalent? Surely we've all had people leave the game who we'd like to keep in touch with, or just people that we'd like to keep in touch with but not in a full-on FB way? How many times have you seen someone come online who you thought had left? How pleased were you that they'd re-appeared? Would it be nice if we could link in outside of WoW/LOtRO/Rift/whatever (clearly, not with the entire realm, but people that we just liked having contact with from whichever server or online game) but under a character (or whatever) name? That way, when RL gets on top of us, we can have a break without feeling (unless we wanted to) that complete disconnect from what, for many of us, appears to be an important social network (argh - spit spit *washes mouth out - I hate that phrase!!) Or do you think this would be a disaster and yet another 'burden' that people would feel they had to carry?