Danah Boyd moderated a panel consisting of Irina Shklovski, Amanda Williams, and Liz Lawley (stepping in for Jane McGonigal, who was home sick with pneumonia) entitled Designing for Global and Local Social Play this afternoon at South by Southwest Interactive. The panel focused on why play is important and how new technology enables us to collapse the boundaries between local and global play.
Danah brought up the idea that the internet allows people from all over the world to talk to each other. However, those people are connecting to each other by using shared ties, be they geographical groups or on a more social level, such as sharing interests. She likes to modify her environment in a way that allows her to have more fun with it. The environment in which one plays can change the way one interacts with others.
The word “play” has multiple meanings – first is the obvious, recreation and fun-time. It can also mean slop or wiggle room. The two meanings are linked, according to Amanda Williams. You can’t have the first without the second. Recreational play requires the flexibility to push boundaries.