Friday, 18 February 2011

Do we want this? Do we need this? Do we already have this?

I was emailing a WoW friend today (god that's a horrible expression, apologies - you know who you are!) and towards the end of the email my hands hovered over the keyboard whilst I tried to work out whether or not to type the next sentence.  The sentence is question, of course, being the phrase for our times "If you want to look me up on Facebook my name is..."  And yes, I did eventually type it, but not without some thought.

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?


  1. There was something like this a while back... but I forgot the name. It's a nice idea in theory, but having to keep up with 2 networks is too much for me. I've added guildies/WoW friends to FB and so far it's worked out fine. I'm not a 'friend collector' so I only add those people who I *want* to keep in touch with, which got me easy access to their news about new jobs and babies \o/ (Also, I generally don't ask other people about their FB details, I wait for them to say it first. I don't want to seem a stalker! ...Though I do check out their public pages sometimes.)

  2. Google knows. was the URL, but it seems like it wasn't very successful...

  3. Heh, I doubted I was having a *lightbulb moment* that no-one had thought of before! But the coming soon' does indeed imply a lack of success/uptake/readiness!

    I had x-fire back in the dim and sistant past which was kind of nice, you could chat to friends who were playing other games but online, so to speak, but it meant having another window open so was irksome...

    I agree wholeheartedly with not being a friend collector' - I'm the same and I've just... taken no notice of requests from people that I haven't seen since high school and colleagues who I just down want to have in my non-work life etc etc. And yeah, the initial asking is a weird thing... I'm friends with people who are friends with other people I know in WoW but aren't my friends (bah long sentences are long...) and I never know whether it's just downright weird and stalker-y to add them!

  4. Same here, some guildies are friends with other guildies (who are my FB friends already), but it feels weird to just add them like that... so I decided it's stalkery and abstained.

    (I think I'm one of the weird ones with regards to FB - I frequently clear out my friends list. If someone is posting shit, never posting, or hasn't been in contact for ages... off they go.)

    (WarcraftSocial worked at some point, I even had an account, but I abandoned it pretty soon... as did everyone else, it seems.)

    (I like parentheses.)

  5. Isn't Raptr quite similar you are looking for? you can connect with people over the games, by their nick and be in contact... though it's not a FB functionality, more like messenger type.

    This might be worth putting up to Raptr people to look.

    Also it might be worth noticing that even though warcraftsocial wasn't a big success, the time might have not been right for it. People might be more accepting towards the idea now, and the biggest fear I have is that Blizzard would do something like it in conjunction with and RealID... /shudder

    C out

  6. I'm very.. I don't know. I'm not anti-facebook but I don't "get it". Sure, I like to check my friend's baby photos and occasionally I'll read up on what they're doing, but I don't understand all the apps and the games (farmville??) etc.

    But that's just me, and if people want to use FB, they can do so. I just prefer WoW and chat programs :P

    That being said, I obviously have a FB account (for those baby pictures!) but I don't update it much. I've got a few WoW friends on there, but since I'm not very active I don't bother much about having WoW and RL friends both on the same friend list.

    My favourite chat program now is Steam. It works with almost every game and allows you to bring up the chat window while you're in the game - which I find useful since I hate having to tab out. I'm sure there are other ones out there that do the same thing, but for me Steam works out nicely :)

  7. I'm another facebook grump, but I think if I *was* a more regular FB user, I wouldn't want to fragment my social space (can you tell I'm currently researching this stuff for work? "social space", blech).

    What *would* be handy would be to have better ways to partition segments of a FB-like service, to allow notional separation between (say) Wowfriends and workfriends and oldfriends and realfriends, but all within the same service/interface. So if I want to tell you all about my breakfast burrito, I can; but if I want to keep the news of my twelveteenth max-level alt to just the people who would care, I have the ability to easily do that too.

  8. @ Jen - (nothing wrong with parentheses)

    @ Copra - I'm not sure Raptr is 'exactly' it. I wasn't thinking particularly in terms of a 'chat engine', for want of a better phrase - I'm sure msn or whatever is sufficient, but more of a 'social space' to borrow from theanorak ;) I do think you have a point re timing: I've been on FB for, umm a fair few years now, back when it wasn't that all pervasive. It's been immensely successful though, love it or hate it, to the point where I know Himself gets very surprised looks when he says he isn't on it. It's like it's becoming mandatory...

    And speaking of mandatory - ANYTHING that 'makes' people take their online lives offline is a no-go in my book. I was violently opposed to the RealID fiasco, I'm 100% for people having choice so yeah, I'm 100% certain that Blizzard doesn't read my blog :D

    @ Saga - I don't get farmville and the like - I use FB in it's 'primary' (?) function - to keep in touch with people. If I want to game I do it in WoW :)

    @ theanorak - wow. You get /soothe and /hug and *cupcakes* for having to research this stuff! If I recall (though I might be making this up) there was some talk about allowing you to partition parts of FB off so only certain 'groups' could see it. But it sure as hell hasn't been implemented as yet, as far as I'm aware. I'm very pro it as an idea (as much as it would mean I don't have to read the TMI of my teenagers lives as anything!) but I'm not holding my breath for implementation!