Critical Era discussion

02/12: Ready Player One > How do the teenagers’ online personas differ from their real life selves? In what ways to MMOs and the internet in general enable people to live as alternate versions of themselves? Is this kind of behavior good or bad for an individual?

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message 1: by Aaron (Typographical Era) , Opinionless (new)

Aaron (Typographical Era)   | 227 comments Mod
Good in short bursts. Bad overall.

Wade the fat kid gets to be Wade the hero, but then he becomes a hero in real life so the whole premise of escaping reality gets shot out of the water. Should the two worlds ever converge like that? Could they? Maybe that's a better question.

message 2: by Jo Anne (new)

Jo Anne (javastix) | 18 comments Don't even get me started. Is this the question you really wanted me to answer?

"In what ways do MMOs and the internet in general enable people to live as alternate versions of themselves?"

One word for this. Anonymity.

Today, at younger ages, kids don't realize that IP addresses, and various other factors, can lead anyone they are trying to hide from, to their location. Even if it takes a while. And typically, at the younger ages, you find things like cyber-bullying to be the issue. As teens to twenty-somethings, they are smarter. They hide their IPs, and any other piece of information. I have found that as I get older, I tend to be more open about my identity - probably not such a good thing - and a little more closed about my opinions. Aaron, this aspect of my personality is a topic you and I have covered at length at least once a year. Anyway, once people have that feeling of anonymity, it is amazing what they will do; what they will say.

I SEE the chatter in MMOs, both as a player, and from the back end. I've argued with players who don't think calling someone the "N" word is offensive. Players with online identities use the internet as a means to convey their true beliefs...they think no one will realize it's them. Well, I'll be all politically correct and what not. But here...well, I'm just a bunch of pixels. I can say whatever I want.

As far as the book goes, I think their personalities were pretty good mirrors of their real life selves. They were all individuals. They clearly did not like the group aspect of play. They never joined a gunter group. They were wary of each other - as they should be.

And I think the behavior is neither good nor bad. For someone shy, I think it can build confidence. The anonymous identity gives them a chance to build confidence and gain a following, so if they ever bare that part of themselves in real life, they have a better idea of what is going to come their way - especially if they fear repercussions. But it is bad too, because if the ideas and ideals they are presenting are only a facade, they don't really believe them, they just want people to THINK they do, then they are not being honest with themselves or others. It can have some serious backlash if presented in the real world.

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