Whattup peeps, it's me Will again, I haven't posted in a redonkulously long time, but I've been swamped with shiz and life (whoa is me!) soooo....here it goes:)
So I finally graduated college and ended up doing really well on senior thesis, I eventually entitled it "Silicon Dreaming: How people are changing reality through play in virtual worlds". What a mouthful, huh? If none of you remember what the thesis was about, or why I chose the topic in the first place, let me just say that, as an avid gamer and former MMO (GRRRR WoW) addict and a student training in anthropology/American Studies throughout college, I wanted to focus my final academic effort as an undergrad on something that mattered to me personally; the burgeoning migration of people to virtual spaces and the distortion/creation of realities in cyberspace. In the paper I focused on how powerful notions of market economics and personal visibility were areas of interest that are being explored in beautiful, dangerous, powerful, fun, addictive, psychotic and all-together extremely prescient ways through virtual communities of people "dreaming in silicon" together in the consensual hallucination of virtual worlds.
Though I couldn't talk about everything I wanted to, or avoid as many typos as I ended up having in the final piece as well, I was very proud of the effort that I had put into my piece and was grateful/relieved/blissfully happy when I finally broke into our department's disability access elevator (the building was stupidly locked on a sunday because of finals...) and slid my glossy, still warm pages from my trembling and sweaty palms under my professor's door.
So what does this blog post have anything to do with the larger Destructoid community and why should anyone spend their precious time reading this seemingly ambling rant about my senior thesis and graduating from college? Because it's me dammit!!! Just kidding. In all seriousness though, I wanted to talk about how my paper on virtual reality and how all of our lives now in this current generation of new social, gaming and business technologies are blurring conceptions of reality.
As I write this, in the cafe I'm sitting at on a blustery and chilly June day in Berkeley, Ca (Read: NOT SUMMER), literally everyone in the cafe, about 20 people, including myself obviously, are plugged into some technological device or another. The girl across from me is flirting with her colleague (I deduce that's what he is) and is plundering the depths of LinkedIn. The woman to my left is playing Angry Birds and the dudes to my right (I'm guessing in their thirties) are giggling and sending bits of PHP code to each other. You can order food virtually and pick up food at the cafe, there is some weird fusion jazz playing in the background and my coffee tastes like shit. Everyone I see outside is either looking at their phone or listening to their ipods and my best friend is texting me from DC about her life. I can't help but feel a little lonely in this morass of techno-humanity.
Again, I've got to stop this rant reassert that it is going somewhere and your time was not yet fully wasted. Like the people I talked about in my paper playing WoW or bounty-hunting in EVE Online, checking up on virtual crops in FarmVille or literally murdering each other over virtual merchandise in real life, sometimes I wonder if any of these people are real. I can see them. I can see them moving and eating, talking and laughing, typing and bitching online about their lives, but I don't know any of these people and I can't help but feel a little bit lonely. Life as a post-grad is a weird amalgam of all of my experiences to this point and I should be prepared for the real world, but I don't think anyone really knows what the real world is anymore; I certainly don't. I guess my point with this post, if there is one point, is that I don't really feel like I'm part of a community in real life, even though there are real people around me, and it's easier to pretend that there are people who care about you in cyberspace when you don't have to deal with them personally, when your problems and insecurities are buffered by a virtual barrier of impersonality that cyberspace affords. Writing this blog post, like playing WoW or EVE, is an escape from the mundane, from the painful, from the lonely. Maybe I'm just feeling emo right now, but maybe it's because we are all escaping to cyberspace that reality as lost meaning and feeling when it's outside of a computer screen, virtual battleship or avatar.
Thanks for putting up with this-----> I still don't have a job, so this is what I do in the meantime.