Monday, December 09, 2013

Social Media is a Game?

Watch the last 5 Minutes of Charlie Brooker's How Videogames Changed the World and you will find that the argument arises that social media such as Twitter and Facebook are now considered as games.

The idea that is presented mirrors that of Danah Boyd:
“As we Twitter our way to friendship, scoring ourselves based on the numbers of 'friends' we can convince to subscribe to our existence, perhaps we lose track of what friendship and connection mean.” 
What do you think? Are we "playing" a game online? Are you yourself online or offline or both? In fact who are you really?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I think Twitter has the potential to be a 'game', but it depends on what you want to get out of a resource like Twitter or Facebook. Yes, there are people who gain satisfaction from a retweet or a follow- then it becomes shallow and superficial. It becomes a game.

    Therefore, I hope that both my online and offline persona's come accross as the same. I don't think I pander for likes and retweets- therefore I don't think I'm false online.

    '..who are you really?' Well, primarily, 'me' is the person you talk to face-to-face, but Twitter and Facebook is an extension of 'me'.

  3. Personally, I feel that social networking has become one huge game. People seem to thrive off likes, comments, retweets, replies etc. and if they don't get enough people take to 'hash tagging' (some people to extremes) just so their image or tweet can be seen by others - this circulation of their content makes them feel as though they are winning the game.

    I for one am a victim. With my Flickr, I will sit there - sometimes for a good hour - planning which picture I feel is going to gain the most views. As sad as this is, it has become a part of people's everyday life and I think it is slowly becoming second nature to the masses.

    When it comes down to my 'real life' and 'digital self', I think that they are different to an extent. I have different social groups online, I am able to write with more precision and thought when online. My question is does being able to think about what I say, make it less natural? If it was a situation irl, would my response be completely different?

  4. I think that to a certain extent social networking sites are predominantly unsociable sites and that we find ourselves congratulating people who do not use them or do not have them. This is due to the idea that if we do not have time to be part of social networking sites then we actually have social lives because they are too busy and it is so difficult to not be addicted to them. In this respect they are like games e.g. candy crush which unfortunately I go through time periods where I am very addicted to it. However, we find it fun and engaging to almost boast about social events. As a result of the feeling included, in a certain clique or section of society because people like, retweet or favourite our posts. This is due to the idea that we follow the people we want to be associated with. However, with Facebook I think its slightly different maybe because it’s been around longer and has had more chance to spread, I don’t know but it enables people who do not physically speak to become ‘friends’ digitally. The separation of Facebook and twitter could also be because I have had Facebook longer than twitter or because people have the opportunity to be followed by someone without being followed back.
    Nonetheless, I have added people that have mutual friends simply because I was in a good mood and felt like being kind but I always ask in case I have misplaced a memory in which we have met. Their reply is usually we are in the same year or we used to go to the same school and sometimes I can’t be bothered to accept them and then block them especially if they are not in my year or didn’t go to my last school. When I left my old school I took the time to unfriend the people who I felt I did not want to be associated with anymore, some of which have requested my friendship again on numerous occasions but would never do so physically.
    Nevertheless, if you do not have these social networks then people feel like they are missing out and think they are excluded from communication. Moreover, if the account is deleted people go through a kind of withdrawal of addiction, emphasising the notion that it is like playing a game. Celebrities repeatedly say they are addicted to twitter and recently I have become more addicted to Facebook because there is someone I can ‘communicate’ with on there that I cannot connect with any other media because asking for my number would be too personal. Thus, it depends what form of social network is used.
    I must say I am more confident digitally I’m not certain why but I think it’s because we do not see people’s reaction and have time to select, frame and organise (mediate) what we want to say or post whether it is negative, in ‘private’ messages or positive, in ‘public’ profile pictures. This reinforces the idea that it depends what type of social network we use and how we use them. Consequently, in answer to Reece’s question I feel it is not naturally what we think at first but still what we think possibly even clearer. In fact with messaging I feel that it is a personal form of communicating and people would not message each other who they wouldn’t physically speak to. Hence, although they were ‘friends’ they would not necessarily connect with them. Therefore, theorists could assume people are losing a sense of connection because everyone has loads of friends and followers which I must admit does feel rewarding as I was very pleased when I reached 400 hundred friends on Facebook. Thus, yes I think social networking sites are boring games of life.

  5. Social Media is certainly a game. Look at tumblr for example bloggers reblog images to get maximum re-blogs or upload their own. they then have an activity bar that they can check that shows a nifty little diagram looking a lot like a heartbeat much like the life signs in a video game. Tumblr also has other strange game like tendencies. You get an email. congratulating you every time you get a new follower and at the end of each couple of weeks get a summary of what's happened. However tumblr will also lock you out if you reach a 150 re-blogs and this resets at 12 am. furthermore every time you like something a little heart graphic appears

    This game like structure makes it very competitive and addictive. Sites like this definitely provide a video-game like experience which give the player satisfaction from getting a new follower or having someone like something you posted.

    1. I see what you mean here boo. On the other hand of the argument there is the side of the active viewer. In which I think I potentially am, I would confidently say I used to be a victim of the 'game' that josh is suggesting. But over time I've tended not to care about it and to use your example, tumblr, is my prime example of how I only use it for my own 'pleasure' and negotiated my own 'use' for the website! Honestly with this 'game' I have no interest in it being a 'game' anymore...

      ...HOWEVER - if tegan and sara retweet me I would get so so so so so excited. Would this be considered that I am 'apart of the game'?

  6. After reading the discussed topic I too agree that social media has become a form of game. Twitter is a primary example of this as it features many examples of a typical video game. This includes a little bio for your online character with a small icon/picture of yourself or what you want, it also has a simple score like system with every tweet you post using retweets and favourites. The more retweets and favourites you get the higher your score and popularity. Another game like feature includes is the following and followers section. It is noticeable that many people who use twitter on a daily basis attempt to keep more followers than they do follow, much like your kill to death ratio on games such as Call of Duty or Battlefield. However, websites such as Twitter and Facebook are only social media websites and I feel that the users mostly are oblivious to this idea of it being a game. I also believe that it becomes more of a game the more you use it as you are hooked and want to create a worthy status or profile for yourself.

  7. Ive heard multiple people say to me 'I had a good night on Twitter last night' - referring to how many retweets they got, how many followers thy gained, how someone famous tweeted them back etc. The idea of socialising online, I feel, has morphed into a game once everyone realised that although social networking is a useful way to share your thoughts and keep up with others, that in-fact in can become quite boring. With people discovering this, people now seem to strategically approach social media in a way so they can get lots of 'Likes, comments, retweets, favourites, revines, shares' and many others spread across the social networking universe.

    Yes, people do still use social media as a way to express them selves; to share and keep up with friends and other people they are interested in but I feel now that people are more wary in what they share with the world with the aim of, to an extent, winning at a game that never ends and really no one ever wins.

  8. The majority of friendships are dominated by social networking and competing to satisfy not only yourself but others through these mediums. I have a slightly different approach this idea and believe this social networking video game idea is based around generations; 50 years ago the game would have been who has been watching the most television and who is bringing that knowledge to school the next day to dominant conversations. This generation is competing for the social status through pixels, for most boys who view twitter as a game, the following to followers count can be viewed as a type of Kill to Death ratio, much like the infamous call of duty accolade.

    I do not believe that the older generation plays social networks as viperously as younger generation as they use it for what they believe twitter was made for, keeping updated on your friends and vice versa. As much of the population pretends to be sub conscious of this ideology that twitter is a fabricated to be a game over a way of connecting.

    People do not admit these, but we are all guilty of it. Before you post, tweet, share or reblog. You think about how popular that post is going to be, you naturally adapt to gauge how much attention the tweet or post we will receive and you manipulate it to achieve maximum notice. Much like you would in video games to use them like titles or achievements.