Growing Up in the Digital World

The readings for this week brought back a lot of fond memories from my childhood. After reading through Seaman’s article, and reading all about how she was able to join these sub-communities and build strong connections with people she never intended on meeting, I was brought back to the early 2010’s when I joined my own online community, the Xbox Live community. Sure I would join random games and play with random people, but I made some friends along the way. For a number of years, I would play with the same group of people, whom I considered to be friends of mine, and I had no idea who they really were. And even though we lacked that actual human connection between each other, we all felt as if we were our own little community. We would all log on at the same time, join a voice-chat party, and play games until the sun came up. As we got older, we all didn’t have as much time and eventually stopped playing together; and even though I never really knew them personally, it still felt like I was turning the page on such a large chapter of my life because of how close I felt to this group of guys. To this day, I still think about some of them and wonder where their life took them after we had played our last game together.

I’m sure some people (mostly older generations) would be hesitant to call that a “friend group” because we only knew each other by screen names and never even got past where we were from. But I, and I know more people from my generation and younger would back me up on this, wouldn’t doubt for a second that we were all friends. I even see the same thing happening with my younger brothers. I’ve seen them join a random game with a random person and I’ll watch them a couple days later and they’ll still be playing with that same random person. It’s just something about the video game (and others) community that can form such strong bonds between people without either of them having to leave the comfort of their own home.

Aside from the Personal Anecdote

One thing I really liked from this week was the Wisdom and/or Madness of Crowds interactive game. Seeing how thoughts and behaviors can spread rapidly reminded me of this video from CGP Grey which talk about basically the same thing, just not interactive. I would also suggest checking out some of his other videos, they have nothing to do with DigPINS, but I find them very interesting, specifically this one about the future of automation in our world. Again, it doesn’t really relate to DigPINS, but as a Computer Science major, this really peaks my interest.

(3) Comments

  1. Joyce

    Seamon’s article was full of such common sense ideas about creating community on the web. Her examples of being part of groups seemed innocent and profound and speaks to how we build community: with the right intentions, with goals that connect to others, without early skepticism. What impressed me most, perhaps because I am still learning to be comfortable in digital spaces, was her observation about what leads to isolation on the web: lack of technical skills, and a lack of (fundamental–my addition) understanding of the social elements of the web! Resonated so well with me. Many of us just do not take the time to become skillful and fully investigate how the spaces function; then we just become fearful. I am in the course to improve my skills and understanding of digital spaces so I can be better model for my students and be resourceful to them. Plus I want to find other folks to learn from, and make contributions of my own. Her ideas (and those of others) for starting to build a PLN using twitter were right on target for me!

    In Dave Cormier’s article I wondered what kind of relationship the mother had with her child that prevented her from striking up a conversation about what he was doing on the web. Some frame for discussions with your child could begin with how the family approaches new ventures; discuss family principles, family fun; what we do together and what we do on our own. Parents can take leadership based on how well they know their children. Oh goodness! Another investment of time! More later. Joyce

  2. Taylor

    I also love CGP grey videos, always super interesting and ridiculously well researched. I think its interesting to think about that networks built around gaming really got popular and mainstream in probably the last 10 – 15 years, but that’s also around the time-frame that I feel like gaming got legitimized as a hobby or video games recognized as an art form and not just as toys for children. The rise of online multiplayer gaming and the networking aspect of it probably had a lot do making it a part of the zeitgeist.

  3. Reid

    Nate- If we assume that a portion of our students had the same or similar experiences to what you described, what knowledge, skills, preferences do you think these individual bring with them to college? How can we connect with them and build on these attributes?

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