Technology, Values, and Institutions
We all constantly grapple with the changes in the world around us. On a simple level it is possible to track social change by looking at three areas: Technology, Values, and Institutions. As these three areas change they reflect the changing nature of the world, and drive further change. As we look at these areas it is easy to understand how society has developed eventually building into the information age.
Many authors are trying to describe the new dynamic and all of their explanations include phrases like emotional, relational, networked and connected. The global dynamics are increasingly moving away from the cold analytical nature of the information age and into spaces dominated by emotional intelligence, empathy, and relational ability. In this shifting social order the balance of influence is increasingly moving from men to women.
The implications of new technology are that connections and relationships are moving toward a post-geographic reality. Technology facilitates the development of relationships and emotional connection amongst people who have never met. This is the shift toward the ‘virtual workplace’. A unique area of technology that is at this time incubating these skills effectively is the world of online gaming. If the shift in the social status quo is toward a social dynamic that favours women, and gaming technology is the ‘skills incubator’ for the future reality, then it is useful to examine the role, status, and presence of women in online gaming.
Currently women make up over 40% of the gaming community in the States.
A Trust Based Engagement
Far from being the solitary social pariah activity that it is often presented as being, gaming is in fact a highly social, relational, and trust based engagement. And, in this type of environment it is noteworthy that it is predominantly considered better to be seen to be female than male if you want to succeed. “According to Kathryn Wright, consulting psychologist at WomenGamers.com, 60% of male gamers don female avatars to gain an advantage in game play.” Playing in an online reality as a woman is seen to be a strategically better choice. In an online game where the player is building hundreds of relationships with people they will never personally meet, it is significant that the best way to do this is to present yourself as a woman.
The implications for the corporate workplace are that as we move towards connected workplaces shows us that it is the character traits we commonly associate with women not men, that will be needed for success.
The online gaming world also shows us that in the shifting social dynamic women are also more naturally gifted with the skills needed for entrepreneurial success. Online gaming shows us is that the dynamics of the Connection Economy will be enhanced by the relational orientation that is more evidenced in the way women engage with the world than with the way men do. In the Connection Economy successful entrepreneurs will be those who place priority on building and working with the community they are a part of rather than trying to dominate and rule it as an ‘alpha male’ type entrepreneur.
Historically women have needed to behave like men in order to succeed in a world where men make the rules. The shifts in society, supported and indicated by the trends within the gaming world, show that increasingly the opposite will be true. Women will find great success. In fact, much like the men who find strategic advantage in playing online games as women, successful men in the Connection Economy will be those who are able to behave more like 21st century women than 20th century macho men.
For further information on the virtual gaming environment for corporates please click here