The concept of having an online identity and being a part of online culture is still something that I am trying to figure out. I never used to think about who I was online because I didn’t see that as a separate part of myself. For me I wasn’t anyone different online. I just did online things. Sure I have a Facebook account and what I post on there would be different than the sort of things I tweet about and those two are definitely so much different than what I put on LinkedIn. Even though I knew that there was a different way “to be” on each of these platforms, it never really clicked.
I find that it is incredible that people have been able to find and understand that there is a different self online than in real life. It is an idea that I have been hesitant to accept but I am starting to believe that these online virtual societies are fostering these lives people wish that they could have.
The Sydell article was interesting to read because I was shocked at how people reacted to the in-world virus that occurred in WoW. I know people who play WoW and I have seen how upset they get when they die while on a mission, but I never thought about how they would react if they died from something that was unexpected. When players are on missions or raids they know that the possibility of dying is there. But this virus was unknown. A concept that I thought to only exist in real life or at least only mattered in real life.
What really drew me to the Sydell reading was the fact that they were looking at a phenomena that could understand and that I know exists in real life. This belonging to a group and what sizes these different groups were. I think that the size of a guild or a real world friend group says a lot about the type of people that are involved. Those in smaller groups are really invested in a connection and want to have a specific purpose or goal in mind for their group. As these groups get larger it may be less about individual connections and more just about the over all success of the group on missions. It really made me think of the difference in Individualistic and Collectivistic cultures. Maybe where these players are from helps in the deciding of what sort of guild to join or create. The article was focusing on North America specifically, which as a nation we are more Individualistic. But where does this notion of moving yourself forward turn into the progression of a group? And does having a leader from a certain region or area of the world dictate what sort of group it is?
These are the sort of questions that I am starting to have that are allowing me to understand how the real self and the online self can attract or repel one another.