Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Roleplaying Star Wars on Social Media - part II

Roleplaying Star Wars on Social Media - Part II "The Empire Strikes Freely"

There are castes of people who use Social Media:

The Celebrities who seemingly are able to say whatever they want to be protected by their legions of Publicist, Public Relations and lawyers. We smaller people do not get that luxury, because we cannot afford it.

The Politicos who gripe at the seemingly 24 hours news cycle. Rants, raves, and discourse along with verbal combat. One wonders if anything will be solved? It might be, then again, probably not.

The rest of the real people, who discuss variety of what we think, feel, believe. And it can become dull over time.

Then... Finally...

The roleplayers or RPers. Those of us who pretend to be their favorite character on large format social media, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, and now Google+.

There are two types of RPers:

Those who do a lot of work and research to create their character, write a character sheet, read most of the novels, watch all the TV shows, movies and youtubes. Every piece of information to play the character has been investigated to perform the character. The RPer who does this is quite serious in staying "in character" or "IC" and responding in novel way. Eventually the social media character will have a script to a story arc to write what is called a fan fiction, posted in several locales, such as blogs or other sites.

Then, there are the RPers who just show up on the doorstep to roleplay for "recreational uses"... What they do is put little effort for their character, no backstory, harass and intimidate other roleplayers often using visual cue weaknesses to be exploited and use of profanity and possibly racist and bigoted overtones. They attack with several levels, from chat to private messages. Question "out of character" or "ooc" during the act of roleplay or performance. When requested to read, they do not. When requested for compassion they have none.

Recreational is as defined as:

adjective /ˌrekrēˈāSHənl/ 

Relating to or denoting activity done for enjoyment when one is not working
- recreational facilities
- recreational cycling in the countryside

Relating to or denoting drugs taken on an occasional basis for enjoyment, esp. when socializing
- recreational drug use

Upon examining the concept of cyberbullying and what it does, as a scientist, I must ask this "addiction" to using social media, especially in a roleplay format, that "recreational" roleplaying is no different from relating to or denoting drugs taken on an occasional basis for enjoyment, especially when socializing...

When roleplaying, usually, anyone serious, would have a background story for their character. It would have succinctness to it. Editing can improve. Basic movements, formats and others would be easily provided. It can be furnished upon request. Somewhere, it can be found in the profile, especially on Facebook Fan Pages.

My character: Senator Yemaja Mlise Lah has her fan page.

Before I joined Facebook Fan Pages, I had a blog and posted it here.

Before that, it was located on the Star Wars The Old Republic Website.

If you look, I started in 2009 creating this character to where she is today. With metrics and marketing, I found what best ways to roleplay as her, and how she best can serve the genre I enjoy and have enjoyed as a child.

But I have encountered vile individuals who bully and destroy all the hard work I have created to decimate my character in just two words. I fell for:

“It takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it”

And as a scientist, I just figured out why:

Social media is addicting when used without preparation or balance. It is like spontaneously eating a bag a chips when you are not hungry and by the time you realize you are full, you have eaten the entire bag. It is like foraging for food in a full refrigerator, but have no plan to cook it.

"If you fail to plan, you plan to fail"

Most people approach social media that way to shoot the breeze for community. I replaces having to do it in real life. Show up on the doorstep, and perhaps someone will respond! That is okay with someone who is balanced, that has other activities in their lives that social media does not supplant that. Not okay when dealing with mental health issues. And especially not okay when roleplaying.

See, roleplaying is very involved, interaction takes place constantly. Someone must log onto it at least 5-6 times daily. When done well, it is reminiscent of a soap opera. Best way to describe it, it is like a 1940's radio show, but now the radio is social media. That is when it works well.

But then you get with these recreational roleplayers, many of who do suffer from real life issues and are dealing with poor self esteem issues tacked on with mental health issue, they use roleplay to supplant their lives to be fantasy. And it worsens their addiction to choose not to engage in their real lives, devoid of physical friendships, and if you were to ask them, what are they doing and what they have done, there is nothing to show for their creativity. It is about power and control.

Sad part is there is no absolute distinction, no black and white. There is always gray. Some roleplayers have all the character sheets, but still bully others. Some roleplayers do not have character sheets but are really good roleplayers.

Why do people roleplay?

Most are creative and artists and doing it on social media is an extension of their efforts. And why they may be very modest of showing their works publicly for fear of ridicule or harsh criticism, or that artist's mentality of "it's not ready yet for the public", in reality, they are begging for others to assist them for the full expression of their work.

It is an excellent way to reach the young people. You get them writing, putting together a whole image of how they envision their character, you focus them and give them skills that they can take onto higher education. And you watch them blossom.

For older people, it is a stress relief to write and tell great stories in a genre of passion de jure. To feel that all that novel reading has been brought to bear and knowing you can "fit" your creation into that which you love. Something about having other's beliefs suspended temporarily and enjoy it, is exciting.

Then there is the minute few that dominate and predate on people who create something. Say it is a misunderstanding, when in reality, their demons are released from the gates of their own inner hell. They contribute nothing to the creative cause. When demanded, they are posts, but their posts are not genuine or authentic. Like a facade, they are faked concerns, faked feelings, manipulating others just for the power and the recognition. Not to uplift community, but to dominate community and become overbearing on the community. Contributions are missing.

That is their addiction. I no longer roleplay on my profile accounts because of my interactions with recreational bullying roleplayers. If serious, I need to see actions taking place before I expend my energies assisting people to reach their potential. I need to see a character sheet, I need to see a "notice of appreciation" -- basically a "thank you note" for me assisting them without being paid. My current fees due to my doctorate training and others is $100 per hour. Helping people create a character sheet and build a story arc in a character of their choice except for a few, for free, I need a "Notice of Acknowledgement". Then I need to see a "Fan Page".

I am not asking for much, because that is how much I enjoy as my hobby and my art therapy, roleplaying. But side mess, such as the racist messages I get posted on my wall is disrespectful of Star Wars, Facebook and roleplaying. It gives us a very bad name of those who are writing.

I purport reading the novels and writing. It takes that much to perform a character. When a recreational RPer pops in and "trolls", it ruins the artistry. It wastes time and effort. It is like, deciding to go kayaking to enjoy the rivers, having never taken a class. It is like cooking a casserole, but missing key ingredients. Something is lacking when there is a free for all roleplayer only doing it to get their socks off by pissing someone off. I choose my "friends" very carefully and any craziness, I do not roleplay with them and I unfriend or block them. I do not need that kind of dysfunction is my life. My own mental health demands that I care for my communications compassionately and I have done due diligence to work on that. I refuse to allow others to scapegoat and attack me because of their woeful ignorance.

So there you have it, parents keep your eye on it the ball.