Yup, that’s sad.

“What used to be emotionally arousing simply isn’t any longer.” Reading that in class got me thinking, are we becoming desensitized as a society? The answer is obviously yes in at least some way. Media is influential. We see a lot of bad things every single day whether we watch the news or not, as we read from Konnikova many sites are designing their media to specifically play on our emotions, yet, as she quotes above this tactic pays off less than it used to. I scroll down a Facebook feed and see something about a kid having a week left to live and I think, “Wow, that sucks,” then I scroll on. To elicit an actual negative emotional reaction for me now it takes something happening to me personally.

Violence is a facet that is often discussed when it comes to  desensitization. The journal of Psychological Science was quoted saying that, “If film is a drug, then violent film content might make people “comfortably numb” (borrowing the words of Pink Floyd).” I like their use of Pink Floyd here, it is extremely accurate, and potentially a good thing. Being “comfortably numb” in regards to violence and misfortune in our world may not be a bad thing. If we really held onto every dark thing we saw on Facebook or CNN we would likely end up with a weird hybrid culture of the 60’s and 70’s. Instead the existence where we are made aware of misfortunes and violence in our world and we acknowledge them without letting them get to us is ideal. It lets us carry on functioning even when the world is trying so hard to not. Stepping back, we can’t ignore these things mind you, as the New York Times discusses there may be a fair amount of correlation and causation between violent media and violent acts. However, for now this just remains as an idea. What do you think, do you think we are desensitized as a society? If so is that a bad thing, or maybe something in between?

Will it ever be game over?

Video games are pretty great. There is an incredible variety in types of game across all gaming platforms that should let anyone enjoy them so long as they find the right game. Unfortunately a lot of video game fans are not great, and you can find just as much variety in fans as you can games. “Fully 73% of adult internet users have seen someone be harassed in some way online.”  I have witnessed harassment, often never as anything extreme, typically online harassment that I see is just an immature player venting in an extreme way, and I would be lying if I said I don’t get frustrated and vent my not always nice comments aloud as well. However, that sort of harassment doesn’t even compare to kind of harassment I have seen women receive. I have lots of friends who play games, not just video games, but games ranging from table top games to all variety of video games, and some of these friends have had to put up with some shit to enjoy the things they do. One such example is where I had a friend told to her face that, “It’s alright, you’re a girl, you don’t know that much about how Magic The Gathering works.” That statement was just after not recognizing a popular card, and is one of the much lighter examples of harassment when it comes to women playing or just being involved in games.

A much more extreme example of the harassment of women would be the entire #Gamergate incident from the past year, where the darker corner of harassers decided to rise and give voice to a disgusting number of death and rape threats. Even excluding those threats however it is not uncommon for women to be treated as if they are different within the context of gaming, they get babied, they get ignored, they get banned from content by other players. I once read that lots of women play male characters in games multiplayer games where the option is available in order to escape the “gamer girl label” and embrace the anonymity, which I see as pretty valid considering most experiences where I have seen a woman be revealed as a woman online have resulted in a few of the assholes becoming suddenly vocal.

What do you think, is too much of the gaming community too far gone? Or will diversity spread slowly but surely?

#UnbridledPotential

A few words and a picture can make us unusually excited.

This seemingly pointless image I saw tweeted by @whatatroy last night is an example of this. For those of you that don’t know, Marble Hornets is a horror series on YouTube loosely based on Slenderman myths told through short little video clips ranging from a less than a minute to over 20 minutes long. That series ended 2 years ago and since the guys that did that series have started a new horror series called clear lakes. Now what makes this image so interesting you ask?

Nothing. It is just Troy (one of the directors and writers) posting and un-spoilery screenshot for the next entry in their series that will come out very soon. This is cool and important as they don’t post a release schedule, sometimes we get an entry every week sometimes its a month or more in between. This single post style is pretty much the only announcement fans of their work ever receive, and its awesome.

For class we read The Art of Live-Tweeting where Long comments about how there are several types of tweets that can contribute to a conversation. Likewise there even more styles of tweets that serve an even wider variety if purposes. For example, the tweet I discuss above is a hype tweet, serving no other purpose but to give fans something they want, drop the mic, and then carry on. But tweets can hold so much more power than that. This Entrepreneur article discusses tactics to use twitter to network for a business and bring in clients or customers. BBC goes hashtag-by-hashtag to show how things in our life ranging from politics to the arts to activism have been drastically influenced by twitter. Twitter is one of the most incredibly multi-purpose services I have ever seen, which perhaps is why I have never used my twitter account particularly much.

Its mind blowing to me that I could continue to just twitter about nonsense and retweet random interesting things I find with some of my take on them, or I could expand my twitter in the future as I move on to bigger and better things. What do you think? Is twitter this incredible multi-tool with infinite potential or is it just a weird site with too many @ signs and #’s.

History written by anon?

There a lot of things that just… ARE… Like the sun or the moon there are so many things that just are what they are and they always have been and they always will be. For me a lot of things feel that way even though I can remember I time without them, like Google or what we spent our last class discussing, Wikipedia. I remember when Wikipedia was just beginning to get big and was taking so much flak from nearly any teacher I could talk to, and now its the first place I go if I want quick basic and probably mostly correct information.

That said Wikipedia is actually a giant enigma to me, I still don’t fully get why it works. I understand the how, but not the why. Looking at this BBC article brings part of the picture together for me, as it ultimately comes down to the same reason anything works at all in this weird world. Some people just… Care too much about certain things, which is this great thing that just keeps things like Wikipedia up and running despite having no incentives to do so. “The encyclopedia-writing endeavor requires a different kind of credibility than scientific inquiry,” says Andrea Forte and Amy Bruckman in a paper written for Georgia Tech’s computing college. And its true. The reason why there is an extreme range in the type of people you have editing and creating Wikipedia pages is because it takes having people who care enough to know about the bizarre topics that no one would think to look up on Wikipedia.

It has become even more obvious why the Gender Gap article is so important. Less than 15% percent of Wikipedia contributors means that some people who care way too much aren’t finding what they care about on Wikipedia, and that discourages them from contributing especially when they see all the other articles on Wikipedia that have so much more contribution. I don’t know the current stats on gender distribution on Wikipedia today, I imagine it is more even though probably not by much. I also imagine that it shares a similar growth to women in STEM fields and other formerly male dominated fields.

Wikipedia is and will be one of the defining creations of our century, when we’re all gone it will be something that is talked about in history books, and I don’t know about you, but I do wonder what they will say.