Thursday, November 5, 2009

What is Going On Here

According to the book “Connected” by Christakis and Fowler , every month over eleven million people around the world play a game on the internet called “World of Warcraft.” “If the people who play this game every month were their own country, they would be bigger than Greece, Belgium, Sweden and nearly 150 other nations.” according to the book’s authors. Millions of people are playing this game as you read this. (This is not by any means the thrust of “Connected”, it was merely used as an illustration of a different point.)

Eleven million playing an internet game is shocking on at least two fronts. First, how could I never have heard of something that eleven million people do every month, and second, what does that say about them or us as a society? Although it is almost impossible to find out how many books are being sold, individually or collectively, it has long been accepted that there are surprisingly few when compared to any other medium. A best seller might have a readership in the hundreds of thousands, rarely into the millions. Or put another way, more people watch infomercials on TV than read most books. And yet, eleven million people are playing something you probably never heard of. I hate a story that indicates that I am more out of touch than my own daughters, but eleven million people are hard to ignore.

By Sam DelPresto

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