On April 23rd 2007, I was part of a taped panel for a CNN program (Future Summit - Virtual Worlds) exploring the impact of virtual worlds on society. Because of the dissertation and my recent illness, I had forgotten that the planned air date for the edited program was mid-June.
The CNN Future Summit is being broadcast on CNN International globally this week. As you may or may not know, the CNN you get in the US is a separate channel altogether where, as my father eloquently explained, they replace substantive content with prettier anchors and juicier news for the American audience. Executives felt that CNN International would be perceived as bland by Americans and so they dumbed down CNN specifically for them.
Thus, the show is not being broadcast in the US, but 10 times this week everywhere else in the world, including Hong Kong, where my parents live. On Wednesday night, they recorded the program premier on DVD. They gave me a copy of the DVD last night when they arrived (for graduation on Sunday). I was awed by the editing, presentation, and content of the program, but was saddened that it would never be broadcast in the US.
I am honored to have learned how to edit videos from my experiences at Seriosity. I realized I could rip the DVD, edit the video down, and post it on YouTube. I edited the 50 minute program down to 8 minutes, focusing on the segments on online gaming and, of course, my responses. You can watch the 8-minute cut here on YouTube.
I began my research in online gaming 8 years ago when there was no academic support for studying online games (apart from the violence agenda). It was my adviser, Doug Davis, from Haverford College who inspired me with the strength and courage to fight for a dream, no matter how tremulous it seemed at times. Over the past years, a small band of colleagues and I have worked hard to carve out a viable field of academic study, dramatically shifting attention away from agendas focused on deviant outcomes of game-play. The study of online gaming and virtual environments is now something that most universities are desperately hiring positions for. I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to change a part of this world such that others interested in studying online games no longer need to struggle the way I did alone for so many years. Over the past years, my colleagues and I have created a vibrant community of scholars spanning the fields of psychology, communication, economics, law, sociology, among others.
I hope you join me in celebrating this moment and cherishing the conviction that while the light will always be a burden to bear in the darkness, that the beauty of dawn will always be worth fighting for.