Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Forming Communities Online

Dear Steinkuehler and Williams,

I really enjoyed reading “Where Everybody Knows Your (Screen) Name: Online Games as ‘Third Places.’ “  I have never quite understood the fascination of spending time creating another life in a virtual world, much less playing games, but with your help I have seen another side of it. I think it is interesting how the virtual world can be seen as a “third place.”  It can be a place to hide when reality gets to be too much.  After all, it is true that in the virtual world, nothing else in real life matters.  Your job, family, and friends are non-existent.  You are now someone that you can start from scratch, with a whole new identity.  People do need to escape, and what better way than going into a perfect world and experimenting with your avatar?

The online gaming world also builds a sense of community that you may not always get in real life.  In addition to starting a new identity online, you can also interact with others who are doing the same.  Contrary to popular belief, MMO’s are not pointless video games that isolate people online; they can teach us the importance of teamwork and dedication.  With a team, you are all working towards the same objective and goal.  You can learn how to socially interact with people online and gain more social skills, which in turn can transfer over into real life.  Personal relationships can also be built and everyone is fully engaged, and that can be just as satisfying in the virtual world.    

Connie Zhen

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