During the past few years we have found ourselves joining networks and becoming participants in interconnected worlds of the virtual sphere; we have been making friends, expressing thoughts, sharing moments; we have practiced exhibiting our selves and ‘following’ others; we have become contributors of today’s news and shapers of tomorrow’s trends. The emergence of the social web, commonly known as web 2.0, and its various social platforms have given us opportunities of communication, participation and social interaction that have brought enthusiasm and excitement but also questioning and concern. Promises have been followed by contradictions in environments such as YouTube, Facebook or del.icio.us where leisure became work, creativity became production and subjectivity turned into an object of surveillance. Haunted by the need of the continuous presence of our online self, we have formed temporary realities of intimacy, tension and control where we have chosen to situate ourselves. What attracts us all in these environments? How is the ‘feed’ being fed?
Aiming to examine the complexity and controversies of today’s social platforms, this paper, which is part of a current PhD research, proposes to study play as a main driving force behind web 2.0 structures and interactions. Taking into consideration play as an activity performed within particular contexts as well as play as a notion and a tactic against constraints and impositions, the paper suggests that a new interpretation of the social media structures and the users’ interrelations within them can be offered through play.
- Daphne Dragona New media arts curator, PhD candidate in the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies, University of Athens, Greece
Full text (PDF) p. 792-799