Given my background in student activism, I’m always excited to see leaders from higher education attend and present at events like the Social Media Cafe Manchester. Continuing this mini-series of blog posts, I caught up with another presenter who will be at tomorrow’s meeting.
Digital Games and/as Social Media –Professor Ben Light @doggyb
Prof Light (or Ben, if I may!) is Professor of Digital Media at the School of Media, Music and Performance, University of Salford. Which is a pretty cool title. Personally, I’m excited that lecturers (professors, no less) are using social media, let alone lecturing in the subject. In my days at university (not that long ago!), the concept of an electronic presentation was still alien to some of the lecturers who taught me.
Ben will be looking at media convergence: how it happens, why, and some of the implications arising for users and designers. Since March 2006, Ben has been engaged in programme of research that has focused upon how users and designers are making digital games and social media work for them on an everyday basis.
This might sound a tad daunting, but he says, “the session won’t be technical”:
“You don’t need to understand the nuts and bolts – it’s suitable for anyone who has an interest in social media and digital gaming.”
…which sounds like a lot of the people I know who go to SMC. I certainly have been enjoying my Wii of late.
Talking of games consoles, Ben’s bringing an exciting twist to the meeting: SingStar on PS3! He’ll be using it as part of his presentation, which will include a lot of photography and video. I wondered why he was bringing along the popular karaoke game for the PS3:
“SingStar is one of the games I have been studying.”…”I’m bringing it along to demonstrate it and the online community [associated with it] ‘live’.”
I hope the BBC wifi holds out and I have no doubt that we have some secret SingStar fans in the crowd (ahem @realfreshtv!)
I know Ben’s putting his final touches on his session this evening, but I asked him what he hoped participants would get out of the session:
“It’s very much about knowledge: how are people using social media, how it’s linked with games. Who are the developers in social media/gaming environments and who are the users – it’s not as obvious as it sounds.
“What ethical issues arise in such spaces? For example, I could talk about ‘grief play’, identity work and social inclusion/exclusion.”
Intriguing. It sounds like Ben will be covering a new area for the Social Media Cafe meetups and doing it in a novel and engaging way. I, for one, can’t wait to get involved.
Professor Light tweets @doggyb and his personal blog is at benlight.org.