I just finished reading the “geeking out” section of the report referred to in the blog below and like the “messing around” section, this section defines geeking out through a range of examples. Although a little long-winded at times, the section does leave you with a fairly thorough understanding of geeking out.
I thought that here I would reflect on a few of my friends and their geeking out practices. I have four close friends from Sydney (my hometown) who have been into gaming in a geeking out way (i.e. intense way) for about seven years. They spend several hours each day online geeking out with games. When World of Warcraft was their game of choice, they would some times (about once a week) schedule eight hour World of Warcraft benders with other players from around the world in which they would attempt to complete some kind of mission (e.g. to take down a high-level monster). As mentioned in the report, these (often) multinational teams are referred to as “guilds”. Due to the international nature of guilds, days or sometimes weeks before, members would negotiate on a day and time for attempting a mission or “raid” – all this communication happening through social media sites such as Facebook. For some members, in order to participate in a mission they would need to wake up at an early hour of the morning. Belonging to a guild is a form of geeking out because membership is usually offered on the condition that you take part in all missions and play the game frequently. If you fail in meeting this condition then it’s likely your membership will be cancelled. This high level of involvement leads to the attainment of expert knowledge on the game. Some expert gamers record their missions and then later edit and post the videos onto sites like YouTube. Like with other forms of geeking out, social media sites like Facebook and YouTube give expert gamers the opportunity to display their work and receive validation from their fans.
I thought I would try to define here the difference between messing around and geeking out as I think it’s quite easy to get the two mixed up. Time is definitely a factor in distinguishing geeking out from messing around – geeking out requires a significantly larger investment of time and, consequently, it out can lead to the attainment of expert knowledge. Whereas it’s unlikely to attain expert knowledge through messing around. Also, geeking out can lead to the production of “art” which is often later shared with the community through social media sites. Although the same is possible with messing around, the difference is in the level of validation the artist receives.