Here’s To The Future

16 May

As we continue to move a future, only starting to be realised, it is a far assumption to note that many are scared of those changes. In regards to the media and communications, how we receive media is becoming more and more interactive. We are affected bodily by the media around us and respond accordingly. This type of embodied media is incredibly powerful as a tool for political and social change. Historically media changes have results in establishing a top down system based on a belief in hierarchies. However the approach of the future is that of an interconnected hub of information, that ideally is freely available to all regardless of race, sex, class or age. An ideal new media in the future will distribute information as it comes in order to promote a higher educational consciousness that grows off the collaborative inputs of others all over the globe. Collaboratively we can build, collaboratively we can find solutions to problems and cures for disease.

However, as anything to do with the future, in the media the direction is uncertain and it will depend on how publics interact with new forms available in order to establish new social trends. Jane McGonigal, a social theorist and gamer questions the impact of her media in the future and how it will provide social change and growth, in all areas of the world. 3 billion people are playing games on a weekly basis, and McGonigal believes that 21 billion hours spent gaming can help solve problems of hunger, poverty, climate change and obesity. How you might ask, the how is the way the gaming community relate to the games they play. Instead of anxiety and depression, gamers experience optimism through fearful concentration. McGonigal sees that gamers will go against all hardships to survive, unlike what she see’s as the “I’m not good at life” approach to the shape of things. The only problem McGonigal sees that will stop the gamers taking the skills learnt in a virtual world into the actual world is the belief they cannot be as good in reality, as in the game. But as McGonigal notes, gamers have built a virtual interconnected network which they collaborate with one another while receiving constant feedback in order to fully solve problems. McGonigal notes that this interconnected, distributed network of gamers helps us to evolve and “change what we a capable of” (McGonigal, 2010). So McGonigal ask what are gamers getting good at? And for us how will this medium help us in the future?  The answer is four fold. First she see’s gamers learning “urgent optimism” (McGonigal, 2010), by the belief that a win is always possible, and always worth trying right now. This she sees builds bonds with the gamers who interact with each other on a level of trust and collaboration socially. Secondly games promote “super-empowered hopeful individuals” (McGonigal, 2010) who can actually make outcomes a reality. These players take their habits learnt into life and reality. Finally the players operate on an inclusive level where “everybody’s on the dream team” (McGonigal, 2010) and has ‘epic’ meaning to their lives. Wouldn’t that save you? McGonigal sees all this can be transfered into life and gamers are a strong human resource that will and can be used for positive social change and provide that ‘epic’ meaning we are all thankfully searching for.

Here is a great example of why we need to use technologies and media to promote social change:

Bibliography

McGonigal, J (2010) “Gaming can make a better world”, TED, http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world.html

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