Last evening I ran into a Frontline report on PBS, “Relationships – Millions of people are inhabiting the Net as if it were a real place, satisfying the urge to connect to others in online games, virtual worlds.”
This report covers a lot of ground from the fallacies of the concept of personal multitasking to issues related to how we project ourselves into the virtual digital realm.
Before I take off on my own reactions I’ll recommend this 90 minute video to you. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/digitalnation/
Most weekday evenings a long time ago when I was in grade school my mother would really get on my case about doing homework and listening to the radio at the same time. She could not believe that I could “study” that way. To my way of thinking the radio helped me to keep going and to keep focused on the task. It was hard for me to imagine how I could do much studying without the radio on. I also liked to eat and watch TV at the same time and read in the bathroom. You know what I mean. I wish I knew the term multitasking back then. It would have been a great comeback to my mom. Well, its probably best I didn’t argue because she never actually made me turn off the radio.
So I dispute any claims that multitasking came in with the digital generation although it may have reached much higher levels with them.
The Frontline special also covered virtual world topics such as WOW and Second Life. I always thought Second Life was odd and clunky. Now I see how places like IBM use Second Life to hold business meetings every work day with their staff from around the world working together in the same “office”. It seems to work well and they say it saves them a lot of money on transportation costs.
So then I’m thinking about what if WOW did a similar service. The meetings would have to be held in sanctuary locations such as Dalaran or Shattrath City to avoid the possibility of meeting attendees from opposite factions attacking each other with swords and nasty spells. I have been at more that a few work meetings where I would have liked to “sheep” a certain other staff – just from a mage point-of-view.
The Frontline video ends on a very serious note by exploring “how digital technology has transformed many aspects of warfare.” Such as the drone pilot operating a powerful weapon from thousands of miles a way. In this case the weapons and the people on the ground are real.
By Ross Johnston for BobMedia.com