Upon reading these articles I was pretty surprised. I mean the internet, although not as extensive as it is now, has been around my entire life and yet to be honest this is a whole new category for me when it comes to peoples relationships with the content online. I always knew that there were online communities that people become obsessive about but not to the extent that these articles have shown me. Take for example in Lauren Bans article when she describes Ric Hoogestraat’s obsession with recreating himself in his early years and living the life that he wishes he had now. I never would have believed prior to this that people could be so wrapped up in an online community that they are oblivious or uncaring of those in their real lives and the effect they have on their physical spouses and significant others. In addition to that, Nancy Baym’s observations about the extensiveness of communications in today’s day and age and that they are constantly changing into more and more technologically savvy means. Baym talks about how new types of communication such as video calling and online multiplayer gaming do have an effect on our relationships and how we express ourselves to each other. Also, Joe Sanchez’s states that platforms such as SecondLife exist primarily for people to socialize with each other. These three articles are similar in the sense that they discuss how these new massively multiplayer online role playing games are actively effecting our lives and our relationships with those around us. While Sanchez just explains the history of how these games came about Baym and Bans talk about the effects these games have and these two women have similar opinions that the interactions in these games not only have positive effects on peoples social lives but at times they can result in negative outcomes as those involved online start ignore the real world around them.
These articles are pretty applicable to my life right now because many friends of mine are currently very involved in these MMORPG’s such as League of Legends and World of Warcraft and they have already effect their lives. For one of my friends his obsession with playing WoW at all times of the day ended up being a good thing for him. He’s by nature a socially awkward person and doesn’t make good friends easily but online the sense of anonymity has given him the courage to speak out and he has actually accrued quite a few very good friends and over time they have actually gotten around to meeting each other and hanging out in real life as well. In Ban’s article she dives into this concept that people feel more comfortable in these virtual worlds saying what they really want to say and not being as shy or reserved as they can be in real life. I personally think that this is an amazing positive result from these games because I’ve seen the effects that they’ve had on someone close to me. On the other hand I’ve also seen the negative when two of my friends who were dating and were both actively involved in League of Legends but when one of them decided to quit playing and the other didn’t it resulted in a lot of fights which ultimately ended in them terminating the relationship. This is also a topic talked about across Bans’ and Baym’s articles, that people become so involved with their virtual lives that they start ignoring those around them. As I read these articles, although it was new knowledge for me, I realized that I had witnessed all of the topics happening in real life I just never knew what to attribute it to until now.