I was incredibly fortunate to get to participate in the Knight Foundation’s symposium Lessons from the First Internet Ages back in November 2021. As a part of that I contributed a short piece for publication online entitled “Games Matter.” One of the things I’ve tried to do in my teaching and prior research (particularly around live streaming) is build conversational points between what we find in gaming and the issues that get more widespread critical attention in internet and social media studies. In this piece I tackle the idea head on, proposing that:
“Before Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and all the other platforms that we now umbrella under the term ‘social media,’ sites for real-time social interaction via the internet already existed––computer games. Since its earliest days, online gaming has wrangled with issues around social organization and community formation, harassment and gatekeeping, commercialized publics, and forms of governance and moderation. Those currently interested in thinking critically about these issues would be well served to look at how they have already been navigated and researched for nearly fifty years now in the area of networked play.”
For the full rundown check out the piece.