You know I don't really like it? I did at first. I played Human Pets (yeah I am weird like that) met lots of new people - bought and sold them, and I loved it. I also played (fluff) friends (less weird, unless a forty year old feeding pixel bunnies bothers you) met lots of new people - petted their critters, and I loved it.
But now? Not so much. Most of the games I enjoyed died and although a few friendships have lingered, without the weirdly addictive activities to support them, they are somewhat mundane. Which leaves me with the people I actually know and their status updates - and they are just witty ways of telling the world what you did today. Some people are really good at status updates, and others just seem to use them as a vehicle for psychosis and neurosis. But either way it is mostly what I did today / saw today, or sadly what my more interesting friend did today / saw today. Nothing wrong with it, except it is real. And real isn't always much fun.
Last weekend we rebuilt The Northlands. We had to, we had been hacked and try as we might we couldn't get rid of the malware. Delete and restart was the only option. The Northlands had been in a pitiful state (of course I blamed Facebook, and with good reason - most people admit the reason they have stopped posting on discussion boards is because everyone is on Facebook) but the deletion and reconstruction gave us a new lease of life and people have not only re-registered, but started posting.
We have even started RPing again a little.
Ya see on Facebook I can't RP, or I can but I might lose friends... and people would look less comfortable sitting next to me at work, especially with the type of characters I play.
I also can't be quite as silly on Facebook, or as honest, or as creative. I have to be Public Me, which is such a tiny part of me - and a part I am reduced to most of the time anyway, like at work and on public transport. In my free time I want more.
The Northlands is more.
I almost gave up you know? Running a discussion board. We can't compete with social media... but today I think maybe we can. Maybe by offering that little bit of an escape, that dice-roll chance to be someone else, possibly someone wicked - to post poems, stories and photographs and have people love them, to use the c-word about someone you work with and have people cheer, to share nothing but the song you are listening to and still be adored, to play games, whisper prayers, swap recipes and tell secrets, and best of all to have the chance to shapeshift into the animal of your choosing (you know, the one that deep down most expresses who you really are) and leave the human race behind for an hour... maybe that is what will keep us going.
Maybe we can compete with Facebook in a small way, with people who matter.
People who secretly have tails, fur and feathers and who always keep a knife tucked in the folds of their cloak.
If you would like to join The Northlands you will find us here: http://www.thenorthlands.net/forum/