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  • TG as a Social Networking Site

    The Tactical Gamer community operates very much like other social networking sites such as Facebook, although it may not be commonly conceived of as such.
    To what extend does TG operate as a more or less emotionally involved site for you (when compared to your experience of Facebook or MySpace or other social networking site).

    Also, is your activity on TG largely anonymous in nature, while your activity of other social networking sites significantly more closely linked to your real identity (for example, for years at TG I was simply "E-Male" while on Facebook I am who I am, Dr. Michael Strangelove)?

    I am interested in any of your thoughts on the nature of your experience here in comparison and in contrast to other social networking sites that you may be using.
    sigpic

  • #2
    Re: TG as a Social Networking Site

    I think online I usually cling to the annonimity of my Username. It's much in the same way I play video games I escape reality and am able to do the impossible. It's the same as reading a good book, we imagine ourselves as the main character seeing it though their eyes dealing with the insane events that are slung at us.

    However TG is a special community and I am happy to consider many members real life friends. So confident am I in trusting other members I share my name and know some members on a personal level. There is no line between personal life and online life. In fact on Facebook and Myspace, much like real life I am known by my real name and I keep up appearances of who I am. It is only online under the true guise of my screen name and avatar can I truly be free of social restraints and bonds. I say what I truly feel and act how I truly wish to act regardless of social stigmas because without my real identity attached I am who I want to be and not who I have to be. In some respects I can only truly be my nerdy self in person when I hang out with my internet enabled friends who share the same interests and culture I am so accustomed to online. At work or with other friends who don't play video games it's like I have to live half my life simply because they do not understand this culture I am apart of and their only experience with it is often only the negative aspects or stigmas attached.

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    • #3
      Re: TG as a Social Networking Site

      I stop by TG to participate in the Sandbox discussions with the other regulars there. I get exposed to varied viewpoints and hear of many things from current events I would not have known of otherwise.

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      • #4
        Re: TG as a Social Networking Site

        Thanks for the replies.

        It is noteworthy that some find any participation in the forums to be beneath them (they are derisive of the forums).

        It is also noteworthy how the TG forums act as a public sphere where news and opinions are debated.
        sigpic

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        • #5
          Re: TG as a Social Networking Site

          I guess my activity here is anonymous; without exception, absolutely NO ONE knows that my real name is Dennis.

          On TG, I am Fruvous. Prior to TG, I had many aliases. I care more about the reputation of |TG|Fruvous than those of (othersite) aliases.

          I have always been impressed by the sense of friendship among TG players. It's like, someone joins the university's kung fu club because he wants to learn kung fu. He then realizes that everyone there is awesomely eccentric and crazy and invites them over for beer. He later becomes addicted to kungfu (very specifically, kungfu with the crazy guys)

          I think it has to do with the variety of social tools TG offers us: teamspeak, forums, private IHS forums, and game-specific inside jokes (I hear one of the 2142 admins is actually a car)

          What makes TG different from other sites? Well, I consider myself friends with a lot of people in the 2142 community, and I talk to several players on steam fairly frequently. Very specific members of the 2142 community make the experience much more enjoyable just by being present.

          However, I've developed deeper or useful (though significantly fewer) personal connections from other communities

          Thundercats HO!!!
          Without teamwork, you'll never survive.
          Without betrayal you'll never win.

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          • #6
            Re: TG as a Social Networking Site

            What Dennis said ^ ;) , except I use my name here and keep my alias for in game. I have stronger relation ships here than I do with face book. I feel the conversations here are more diverse than my face book cause there it is mostly female friends talking about there kids or just spamming every moment of there day with us as if they had no other life. You never no the hot topic of the day here and most are pleasant, informative, or just too damn funny. I check forums here 4 times as often than any other site.

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            • #7
              Re: TG as a Social Networking Site

              Never got involved with any of that social networking stuff.
              When MySpace was "in", most people's pages gave me horrible flashbacks to Geocities and Angelfire. Later on, my University wanted me to make a FaceBook page...and register it with them for "enhanced networking". The shenanigans they were trying to pull there completely destroyed my interest in such things. That, and I have always held the opinion Betty White expressed during her SNL monologue about the whole arrangement.

              Similarly to Gill, I like the variety and spice that shows up in the Sandbox. However, I wouldn't really say I'm anymore emotionally involved here than I am anywhere else online.

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              • #8
                Re: TG as a Social Networking Site

                Originally posted by Gill View Post
                I stop by TG to participate in the Sandbox discussions with the other regulars there. I get exposed to varied viewpoints and hear of many things from current events I would not have known of otherwise.
                I didn't expect that. interesting.



                As for me personally, I didn't think of it either way. For the first 6 months I can say it it was all about the teamwork and that's what kept me coming back. After which, it was my 2 IHSs that made me even more attached to TG. Even with those IHSs gone, some of the people are still here.

                Up until now, Eroak was a projected persona of what I tried to be, related to personal identity issues I have/had in real life. I now honestly wish I could change it and be more myself in all honestly. But once I returned to TG form about a 2 year vacation, I came back different and more open about myself. Although I'm still not being fully myself yet, I made a name for myself in 2142 that I wish I could shed. I now feel expected to act a certain way. I don't even think about it, I just do it.

                I consider some of there people now my friends. Networking? Yes. Unexpected? Yes.
                The soldier formerly known as, Eroak.

                From the TG Primer: 2) Create an environment where there is
                mutual respect for your fellow gamers
                and where all members
                would be working together to advance the enjoyment of their hobby.
                Former TGU Dean, 3rd, 9th, & 56th IHS member.

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                • #9
                  Re: TG as a Social Networking Site

                  Thank you for all the replies -- this is very helpful for my research.
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                  • #10
                    Re: TG as a Social Networking Site

                    Originally posted by E-Male View Post
                    The Tactical Gamer community operates very much like other social networking sites such as Facebook, although it may not be commonly conceived of as such.
                    I would probably argue that Tactical Gamer does not operate like typical social networks. There is an inherent difference when it comes to the social graph, a term actually coined by Zuckerberg / Facebook.

                    With social networks like FB, a user's social graph is a single node. By friending others that social graph grows and individuals start to interconnect with each other. With Tactical Gamer all users are automatically interconnected. TG's specific game forums isolate users to some extent. In-house squads are probably the closest to building that interdependency between users.

                    What's lacking here is the ability for users to create that personal interdependency and share their gaming experiences with their social graph. I've seen some in-house squads swell in size and have heard their desire to increase their numbers past the threshold allowed by TG. To me this demonstrates the want to build that indivualized social graph.

                    Simply increasing the size of an IHS though wouldn't suffice. Eventually that growth would be too much and those same players would be looking to individualize again. It's similar to how TG has grown from a small tight knit community "where everybody knows your name" to a large community has divisions, sections, intersects, etc.

                    Originally posted by E-Male View Post
                    To what extend does TG operate as a more or less emotionally involved site for you (when compared to your experience of Facebook or MySpace or other social networking site).
                    On sites like FB I can share more personal experiences than I can on sites like TG (i.e. open forums). FB provides the means to share those experiences with only the people I've chosen which typically means people that I trust with those personal experiences. That doesn't mean I don't have that same trust with folks here on TG, simply that there isn't an easy way to share with those individuals.

                    Originally posted by E-Male View Post
                    Also, is your activity on TG largely anonymous in nature, while your activity of other social networking sites significantly more closely linked to your real identity (for example, for years at TG I was simply "E-Male" while on Facebook I am who I am, Dr. Michael Strangelove)?
                    Inline with my previous paragraph, the open nature of forums necessitates the need for anonyminity. By posting in the forums you're sharing with everyone, not just your chosen social graph.
                    |TG-12th| asch
                    sigpic

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                    • #11
                      Re: TG as a Social Networking Site

                      Thanks for the detailed response asch.

                      Yes indeed, TG is a social network. Heck, I have been on the Net for 21 years now, and it has always been a social network. The functionality increases with each passing year or two, but it has always been social, and it has always been a network.
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                      • #12
                        Re: TG as a Social Networking Site

                        Just about any online presence that has a basic form of communication between users can be classified as an online social network to some degree. I remember participating on and running BBSes back in the late 80's / early 90's. Those would be considered an online social network as well. A dozen individuals all responding to the same random blog post on a random website would also be considered part of the same online social network.
                        |TG-12th| asch
                        sigpic

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                        • #13
                          Re: TG as a Social Networking Site

                          A social network is a map of specified social relationships between nodes (individuals or organizations). While TG, and the internet in general, contains nodes, it's missing the specified relationships. That's why it doesn't count as a social network in a technical sense. All of us being the same members of a site does not necessarily constitute a social relationship. TG has a simple friends list feature. So there may be a rudimentary social network within the site that people can participate in.

                          Compare with the internet in general with the US postal system. It's a system where by parties can communicate with each other. There are nodes (users of the system) that communicate with other nodes. But it's not a social network because it's not a map of specified social relationships between some nodes.

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                          • #14
                            Re: TG as a Social Networking Site

                            I'd say we all share a common creed or kinship with one another. We're all here because we do share the same values and abide by them otherwise we'd either choose not to be here or we'd be removed from the group. I believe with in house squads and in deed the friends we have on Steam or what have you all contribute to it. No we're not a social network in the traditional sense but we are a network and we are social. We have our member nodes and we have groups contained within TG. We are a community which people choose to be apart of and contribute whichever way they wish within it. I see this no differently than Facebook or Myspace or even Dating sites.

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                            • #15
                              Re: TG as a Social Networking Site

                              Ah but then you see the difference. My town consists of a community. The UN consists of an international community. The term 'community' is quite broad in both its normal English usage and its academic usage. I'm not sure we'd normally call either of these things social networks.

                              There are at least three kinds of definitions that are useful to think about here: lexical definitions and stipulative definitions. The former are the sort you find in a dictionary. They're merely a description of the most common usage of the term by the linguistic community. The latter the sort that researchers might use to write very carefully about their topics. They are typically precisified lexical definitions in order to distinguish the concept from other concepts.

                              Maybe the term 'social network' in our ordinary usage is so loose that it fits almost anything, just like 'community', where a community can refer pretty much to any group of people with the least bit of any kind of connection at all. But then the term is pretty useless. Who cares if TG is a social networking site then. Just about every site is a social networking site. Nothing interesting to note there.

                              This is why researchers who study social networks typically try to precisify the notion of what they're studying. They want to know what a social network is and what it isn't, how to measure various aspects of one, how they function, and so on. Maybe TG counts as a social network in this regard. I'm not too sure. We'd need to see what the stipulative definition for a social network is.

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