... or why grown ups just don't get it (.....and maybe we never will)
I posted a long time ago about Second Life and Facebook and how I didn't really understand the attraction of either. Just to recap, I considered Second Life to be an unsatisfactory role based gaming experience and I didn't understand why we needed yet another way to interact and communicate online using Facebook.
I was of course deluged by people who would gleefully tell me that "I just didn't get it". As was my wont back then, I listened carefully, read diligently and then simply concluded that everyone was wrong :-)
Well it turns out that I was wrong - I didn't get it ..... and the worrying thing is that my generation (if you don't know me, I've slipped into the wrong half of my mid forties) don't get it and in all probability may never get it.
The "it" that I'm referring to is what happens when someone immerses themselves completely in an experience. I realised this when a colleague (of similar age) and I were discussing our Second Life and Facebook experiences. What became clear was that we used them as you would use any other computer applications or game. We started them up, used them for a while, shut them down, went and used something else, came back etc etc ..... which is a very structured and detached relationship. My kids, and those that I know, use these solutions very differently. They immerse themselves in them. In the case of Second Life, adopting genuine persona's, constructing new relationships/interactions and behaving in a new way as a result. Actually, if you watch committed gamers playing the current genre of networked computer games they do the same. It seems to be the same with Facebook. Of course my daughter could phone, txt, IM or email her friends to tell them how shes feeling - but she doesn't - she updates her status in Facebook to reflect her mood and then interacts with her friends using it (and its associated application)s to communicate all manner of related feelings, information and activities as a result.
And maybe that's the point, and the real reason why 'grown ups don't get it'. We've forgotten what its like to be immersed in something and to engage at that level. We are too thoughtful and practical. We are looking to use something to get something done. We are academically interested and deal in practicality rather than allowing ourselves to become immersed in the emotional impact.
Maybe its just part of growing up ....and maybe, if we really want to understand this stuff, we need to stop behaving and thinking like adults. Now, what would that bring ... ???
Just a thought ...