New Media Interactivity combined with Web 2.0 democratization has put a brand new generation of young adults, so the so-called Neo-M in a very unique, often beneficial position. Users have been encouraged to embrace self-publishing tools so simple that an elementary kid can start his own blog. Virtual worlds have created a new type of social capital opportunities for users who can no longer visit as many local bars and 3rd place social meeting places.
The internet has passed sign posts and markers along the way from its journey as a primarily e-commerce tool in the 1990s, and from this point forward, there is absolutely no going back to the way that things used to be. We have researchers arguing that social capital can be equipped just as easily through online massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) and just as relevant as any of these other developments, there is a new generation of young adults entering their early 20s known as the “Neo-Millenial generation” (Baird).
Star Wars online was excellent example of an online community game that features expansive use of 3rd place type congregation areas. The programmers for this online role-playing phenomenon were most interested in encouraging user interaction beyond any other goal. So they would in fact, stick players in levels and areas that force them to entertain one another. Or, at least, that was the goal.
Beyond the sometimes more clear-cut social benefits that will develop from participation in online discussions, internet gaming and online web logs lies the potential for a new type of teaching tool. Games have been used for many years already to establish certain types of teaching opportunities. Professionals of a different breed from most social scholars have come to the conclusion that internet gaming can be used as a deeply engrossing, personalized, customizable virtual teaching landscape.