We play video games and use social media for a variety of reasons, but one common motif between the two is that they’re both virtual spaces for us to exist in. The worlds of gaming and social media are both places where we project our inner self, express ourselves and create emotional ripples within a vast, digital ocean.
In many ways, both social media and video games have a lot in common with one another. They both have their own unique power to bring friends, family and people together, and they both have negative connotations levelled at them by their ardent critics. Mainstream TV media often perceive them in a similar light – as shallow, throwaway, detrimental experiences, and they’re also often used as scape-goats for political agendas. For the most part, video games get the short end of the stick when compared to something as socially accepted as social media, and to that I say: What a shame.
Video games are a positive force in my life and I’m sure that they are for many, many others, too. It gives us the opportunity to work together towards a finite goal, communicate and bond over an active, participatory experience and it provides us with fervent, meaningful conversations to be a part of; water-cooler moments that are similar to great literature or films.
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Further still, it gives our minds a hardy challenge, a test and a sense of reward. Sure, there are many avenues within life that can give you these valuable experiences, too, but it just so happens that video games are my go-to medium to explore, analyze and express myself. One of the reasons the video game industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world is its success in resonating with so many people, including me.
Social media needs no real introduction. It’s seeped into our lives and become a part of our day-to-day routine, whether we like it or not. We’re all interconnected by our mobile phones, computers and tablets, busy swiping down, clicking that ‘Like’ button and poring over cute pictures of little pugs dressed in hats that a former colleague’s posted in a drunken stupor. Of course, social media is all rather innocuous, innocent and practical when used in a suitable, pertinent way, though by the same token, it’s also arguably one of the most significant and impactful sociological developments of our modern society.
I want to be clear here; this isn’t going to be one of those articles that condemns social media, or twists it into some evil monster that’s slowly pulling humankind further and further apart from each other. That really is a philosophical and ethical debate for another day. No, on the contrary, in many ways I’d argue that the power of social media has brought us closer together practically, making it easier to communicate, share and connect in an ever-changing world that is shifting more and more into an online space. Much like video games, social media can brighten up our day, inspire us and bring us closer together.