Playful Culture and the Glamorization of Everyday (Virtual) Life: Elements of Play in Facebook Applications
In the general frame of a “ludification of culture” (Raessens 1) we are witnessing the rise of hybrid entertainment products such as Facebook Applications, media phenomena difficult to define as “games” or “play”, that carry a large share in the responsibility for social interaction within social networks. Are Facebook Applications and its clones in other networks like Bebo or MySpace a form of casual games, are they “just for fun”, how do they participate in the general cultural trend that incorporates play elements in non-play environments?
This paper, in order to answer these questions, relates to the two separated fields of game studies and media sociology, with the aim of gaining a better understanding of the role of play in media culture, as well as enter the recent discussion on casual games from a lateral perspective, introducing elements from media psychology and anthropology. This presentation is preliminary to a qualitative research on the use of Facebook Applications among Facebook users, whose results are still not complete.
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