30 Things This Blog is About (#25: Culture)

People are fascinating, frustrating, and fantastic. The ways in which we communicate, play, and share with one another are myriad, and while my usual medium for that sort of thing is games, I’m no less interested in the differences between media.

I also find it fascinating to see how our media shapes our culture, the things we do, say, and think. Ten years ago it would have been unheard of for the “popular kids” in high school to even know what a d20 was, much less use one for anything. The other day, a friend of mine told me a story about his middle-school-aged daughter, who was nearly in tears because a boy she had a crush on was playing in a D&D game that she wasn’t invited to. I can only imagine my friend’s reaction to this– he’s been DMing tabletop RPGs for 20 or 30 years, works in video games, and here is an opportunity to become The Best Dad Ever, hosting a game for his daughter and folding her into a group she desperately wanted to be a part of.

Twenty years ago, the idea of everyone having a phone, an instant camera, a notepad, a game boy, a voice recorder, an up-to-the-minute map, a source of driving directions, and a boombox all at once, constantly, would have been laughable. Now I carry around a device that does all of this and more and is less than half the size of my wallet. The cultural shift that’s followed has been immense. We’ve gotten food porn and the selfie, two frivolous but extremely popular things that have only arisen because we have smartphones, and up-to-the-minute news comes from actual people reporting events live on twitter, for the entire world to see, and countries that try to censor their media find out just how difficult it is to stop the signal.

Culture has been undergoing a seismic shift over the past few decades, and the speed with which it’s changing is only increasing.

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