Facebook Roleplaying | The Communication Blog

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Facebook Roleplaying

By Jim Slate

Social Networks are now allowing people to communicate in new and exciting ways which weren't even dreamed of in previous generations. Aside from just randomly chatting, they are also allowing people to tell stories, and to create works of fiction, which are emerging to recreate the nature of storytelling.

Roleplaying itself is just the creation of an interactive work of fiction. Each person in the group assumes the role of a character, and then you come together to interact and further the story through your individual actions. Everyone contributes, and the story moves forward mostly by consent.

Social networks such as facebook were created to allow people to tell stories. You are supposed to use them to tell the story of you real life, through the use of pictures, videos, and written submissions in a variety of forms.

This storytelling function can also be used to create fictional tales. By signing up as a character, you can use all of the applications normally reserved for real people, to express the life story of the fictional person.

You can then expand on the story through interaction, either with other fictional characters, or with real people whom you meet through the site. this breathes new life into the tale, making it come vibrantly alive.

The problem is that most of the big social networking sites expressly forbid their members from creating fictional characters. They want the site to remain a haven for real people to interact. This is often stated in their terms of service,a nd violation can result in your character being banned from the site. While this rule is usually not strictly enforced, its presence alone is enough to hamper most roleplaying endeavors.

There are alternatives however. The most popular is probably http://www.RolePages.com. A social network set up very similarly to facebook, the creators of RolePages encourage members to sign up as fictional characters. In fact they want members to sign up as the strangest, and most creative people they can possibly imagine. The goal is to then create stories through interactions with other character members across the site.

Social networks are a new frontier in the art of communication. Using them as a medium for telling stories is a trend that is just starting to catch on. As the sophistication of the technology increases the ability to create fictional works using these tools is only going to improve.

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