Raiding Research Online

Exploring and mapping the MMO raiding culture
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Archive for the ‘conference papers’

Call for papers, 2011 RGS Conference

January 31, 2011 By: Ladan Category: computer, conference papers, new media, play space

Just so you guys don’t think I sit around space-barring in WoW all the time, I thought I ought to cross-post the call for papers for the session I’m convening titled

“Getting lost on the way to Farmville” Virtual, mobile and online spaces of interaction: Exploring the emerging geography and culture of new media technologies

for the 2011 RGS (Royal Geographical Society) conference taking place in London, 31 August-2 September. The deadline to submit an abstract is February 11. The RGS is one of the major geography conferences and I’m thrilled to be able to convene an entire session dedicated to the “new media” agenda. I think it’s not always seen as a natural connection, geography and new media, but since I view geography in its more fundamental meaning as “writing the earth” (not just a specialty that reads and makes maps; very few of us actually do that!), I think it’s nonsensical not to see the impact that new media like MMOs, social networks, mobile technology, and so on are having on our geography and our perception of geography. If you’re an academic or student and interested in attending or presenting at this conference, please check it out! It’s a fantastic conference and in one of the nicest locations in London.

Back in the early 1990s, the new media of the time–the Internet–was viewed as this fascinating new phenomenon that seemed to function above and beyond “normal life”. That’s just not the case anymore. Many of us rely on new media to do everything we might otherwise consider mundane. Let me list a few things I did with my laptop yesterday that we might consider unremarkable and commonplace:

  • Check a news site, roam around reading for a  bit
  • Listen to the radio on my BBC iPlayer while making brunch; watch BBC iPlayer in the evening before bed
  • Double check my recipe (housed on my laptop) for banana bread (you’d think I’ve have it memorised by now, but I don’t)
  • Check my three email addresses
  • Log into WoW to space bar a bit (actually it was to herb, God I feel like a slave to the game sometimes) and check sign-ups for the raid
  • Check the hours that the bank is open on Monday, after checking bank balances
  • Check my blog and a few other WoW related sites

This is utterly unremarkable. I imagine many of us do things like this–the computer being these portals to information and functionality. And this is stuff most of us do without even thinking about it.

So does it even matter anymore? Or, shall I say, can we comfortably make it through a day now without the Internet and our related new media? Of course we can, but we prefer not to. And it’s not because we’re “addicted” to it. We’re just used to the way that it helps us get through the day.