Do video games (and other digital media) influence society or does society influence them? Or is it a bit from Column A and a bit from Column B?
There are some strong arguments that repeated exposure to violence desensitizes people and, in the case of violent video games, even spurs/trains them to commit violent acts. This debate has been waged in academia and elsewhere. For an interesting overview, see this book chapter, or even this Wikipedia page. Commentators are split on whether there is a causal link, or a casual link.
I’m less interested in the serious stuff, like violence, than whether cool stuff comes across from digital media to the physical world. Check out this Cracked article Six Disastrous Way Pop Culture Influences the Real World for some examples of what I’m talking about. Obviously, there are the things like pop culture references that often litter conversations (such as the title of this post), but do actions and behaviours make the transition?
The video below by Remi Gaillard is one example of a video game coming to life.
While hilarious, this isn’t exactly what I’m talking about.
At one level, it is obvious that participatory media and participatory culture encourage users to engage in new actions outside of the particular medium they are using. We can find examples of these practices in Wikipedia, YouTube, metagaming, game clans and more. But these actions still tend to relate directly to the use of the medium. In these cases, the influences aren’t manifesting elsewhere.
Do you know of any examples of digital culture influencing people’s behaviour, in cool ways, away from the particular media item itself?