Poolside Intellectual

When I come home, I swim in the pool. And when I swim in the pool, I read a good book. When I read a good book, I often end up critiquing it.

 Now that I’m not cramming through school books and assigned readings, I’ve finally had a chance to explore some books that I actually like reading. It’s not that I had bad book selections in college…but somehow having to read them versus wanting to read them often made the task less enjoyable.

Its a pretty nice summer read if you’re fashionably nerdy or pleasantly geeky

This week in particular I have been devouring The Digital Divide, a compendium of arguments for and against new technology and media consumption. My favorite selections thus far have been Marc Prensky’s ‘Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants’ excerpt, Maryanne Wolf’s ‘Learning To Think In A Digital World’, and Don Tapscott’s ‘The Eight Net Gen Norms’. However, one of those readings is most assuredly not  Sherry Turkle’s ‘Identity Crisis’. (And thus begins a brief critique)

Turkle constantly refers to “MUDS” our Multi user domains. However, as a gen y reader that is fairly adept with tech, I had no idea what on earth she wad talking about. Similarly, she references “WELL” or Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link.

As it turns out, this is what MUD gameplay looks like. Seems a bit outdated for a book being published in 2011. Image courtesy of AlternativeTo.

After some troubleshooting, I realized she meant online roleplaying games such as Avalon and The Wheel of Time. These games have been largely outpaced by mass multi player online games (or MMORPGs) like World of Warcraft, and Final Fantasy XIV. Similarly, she was referring to text-based gameplay, which (in my opinion) is very uncommon gaming medium in today’s society.

Screenshot from Final Fantasy XIV. Image courtesy of ID-Games.

After some research, I learned that “WELL” is an “online community” started in 1985, which has since become a community space of Salon. Sadly, the website’s formatting shows its age: the overall design is clunky, text-heavy, and comes off as massively outdated. Though boasting to be the “Park Place of email addresses”, referencing such a culturally irrelevant website shows the age of this excerpt (was published initially in 1995).

Even the logo seems out-of-place in a time where sleek logos and hip web design seems to dominate society.

I’m not sure why such an archaic irrelevant article would be placed in this book. Though some works such as Herbert Kelman’s “Processes of Opinion Change”(1961) and Daniel Katz’s “The Functional Approach to the Study of Attitudes”(1960) have managed to stay relevant due to their innovative material, this excerpt has clearly reached its expiration date and should not be published in future editions.

And now, with that is off my chest, I will refocus my attention to perfecting my tan!

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