Friday, August 19, 2011

Facebook Dreams #1

Many of my students wanted to befriend me on Facebbok last year.

Now, my page is laden with profanities and death threats to random people, full of bad and, quite frankly, not that funny jokes and lists all my vulnerabilities. Worst, it contains spoilers to the kids' adventures. Worst still, it is written in a language they can't understand.

Instead, I created a new page just for the kids. It is written in a language that you can't understand... but google can. To my surprise, more often than not, the kids commented on pictures and posts in-character. Soon, the page became a buzzing market for rumors and information, something which I felt ambiguously about. On the one hand, it created an inter-city gaming community, enriched the games and encouraged creativity and self-expression (finally, a crowd that will listen and comment!). On the other hand it didn't make any sense inside the game world; how can a fighter hiding in a cellar in Menzoberranzan request directions from a vagabond sleeping on a bench in Urik, and why on earth does this vagabond have wikipedia...?

My boys created a map of their realm and were quick
to share it on the FB page with the cute caption, "join or die..."

By the end of the year, they wanted to trade items and even join forces to take on bigger monsters. Here, I just had to insist on the wall between the real world and fantasy world remaining intact. But this wall (pardon the pun) was already covered in graffiti on both sides and battered to the point of near collapse. Not to mention, I didn't care for this wall too much myself. But how to remove it, without removing the realism of the game with it?

This year, I think I found a solution!