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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Article - Where Everybody Knows Your (Screen) Name: Online Games as "Third Places"

The next time someone gives you shit about spending too much time on your fantasy hockey league, send them this link.

This article, written by Constance Steinkuehler and Dmitri Williams, examines the form and function of massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) in terms of social engagement. Apparently, a lot of people (known as 'gamers') are looking to these types of games as a "Third Place", i.e., an outlet for social interaction among their peers - sort of akin to the coffee shop from Friends or the bar on Cheers.

Now for us non-gamers out there, a woman gamer (yes, there ARE women there) named Meg Stivison has done a good job translating the study into plain English in her article, MMO Gaming and Relationships. In it, Stivison states the following:

"We've all heard the accusation that gamers are anti-social. Sometimes we respond angrily, other times we embrace the solitary geek descriptions. But social gaming provides an essential third place, where online friendships and teams might actually be helpful and healthy. "

Now granted, gamers have been painted quite negatively by many individuals as well as the popular media. I’m sure South Park’s World of Warcraft episode didn’t help matters much either. But this article did get me thinking about how a lot of guys have approached the world of online dating.

For those of us that look at online dating as an inexpensive, convenient and FUN way to meet a large number of people (all of whom are supposedly 'single and looking') in a short period of time, the advent of internet dating has been a blessing.

However, there are also a number of people that have taken to online dating as a type of security blanket shielding them from actually going into the real world to meet people. These are the guys that are writing to women on the other side of the globe in the hopes of starting an email relationship with someone they will probably never meet (wasting their time AND hers).

The reality is that while sitting behind a computer screen (playing MMOs or doing whatever) can be okay in MODERATION, it is NOT a substitute for going out into the real world and interacting with people face to face. I can ASSURE you, a real interaction with a women (or several if you can pull it off!) is a LOT more satisfying then chatting with one on IM. And it really isn't that hard (no pun intended!). As we have said before, 'Don't be a Keyboard Jockey '. Remember, you don't want to end up like this dude.

Now go meet some women!

Alexander Stone & Stephen David
Copyright 2007 - Online Dating Edge / Approach Dynamics

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said. As a gamer, WOW (& old school EQ!), we are often mocked by the nongamer types. If they ever played they'd be gamers too! Live and let live. BTW, I'm married with 2 beautiful children - but I love your blog. ;)