Meeting Online Friends Offline…

I met some london-dwelling online buddies last night at the Bankside Bar near London Bridge. We met online playing a game called Planetside, which has been going since mid-2004. The game stresses teamwork in order to win, and I’ve met many people through the game.

From left to right: Matt (Morgy), Me, Jason (Darkstalker) and Arron (Arron).

Despite the fact that we met online, our conversation was not limited to online things, even if it did veer that way occasionally.

Many people cite the stereotype of a spotty teenager sat in front of a computer with no life. This might be true in some cases, but not all. What’s obvious is that I’ve met some nice, like-minded people online, and we’ve taken this offline as well.

Plus, I consider it a far more stimulating and social medium than gormlessly sitting in front of the TV. I’m interacting with people, using my brain and socialising. I also keep it in balance with the other commitments in my life.

Ten years ago, people who surfed the web were regarded as “geeks”. Now it is mainstream.

Five years ago, people who dated online were regarded with pity as “losers”. Now it is mainstream.

Currently, people who game online are attacked with negative stereotypes. A recent discussion on the BBC “Have your say” forum threw these attitudes into relief. I think these media are the future.

Why?

Well, with richer graphical interfaces, passport profiles etc. I think maybe one day, the whole web will be represented using concepts from online games.

But back to the evening at hand. We got quite merry, had a good few laughs and vowed to meet again soon. Who knows if that will happen as soon as we hope, given the nightmare of getting around London and our respective busy diaries, but I’m sure we’ll try!

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