Friday, December 12, 2014

The Art of Acting A Persona (Online)

Note: Please read the updates below for better clarity. I was trying to make some sort of message but frankly, the original execution of the message was awful.

When I created my previous rant video, I hinted at another rant that I originally had in the works before I decided to try to do the much larger project of ranting about the mistreatment of newbs and the like. The topic in question was about online personas, specifically personalities that people act as online, such as the Angry Video Game Nerd or Francis. While I personally have a huge amount of respect for people capable of acting as someone else, I also feel the concept of acting out a persona is being used almost as an excuse to act with impunity. This particular idea was formed after reading numerous comments about specific online celebrities known to have a negative influence (or at least likely to be seen as a negative role model), both for (as in comments that argued the celebrities were allowed to behave in such a manner because it was their act) and against (said celebrities are being negative and that serves as a bad example, etc). Given my last rant, my opinion is slated towards the latter group, due to explanations provided in my rant:
I mentioned specific individuals purely for the sake of example in this rant. I don't personally keep track of too many online celebrities, but if you wish to ask of my opinion on a specific one you can feel free to comment on this article with an inquiry. I also apologize for clogging up the front page with embedded videos; the next article will be a text-based guide.

Update: I forgot to also mention satires in particular (though to be fair what I talk about in my video strongly implies that satire is covered since satire often involves acting). Building on what I've written here and said in my rant, just because something is acted out (and may be intended to be satirical) doesn't automatically absolve the people acting of all responsibility. There may be misinterpretations, such as someone taking the satire seriously. This is precisely what happened when fans of the AVGN and the Nostalgia Critic believed the "fight" they had was serious to the point that the AVGN had to add commentary to his video saying that what was happening in the video was satire, especially considering the original version had plenty of telegraphing that it was satire. This is worth keeping in mind for those intending to be satirical (or sarcastic or snarky or the like without the purpose of being deliberately harmful).

Update 2.1: Reordered my thoughts again and this is the position I currently hold on the idea of "acting out a persona."
  • Having a persona in general is fine. It's interesting to be someone or something you aren't normally. The acting in itself is a mark of talent.
  • However, what one does, acting or not, can be criticized and held accountable. For example, ruining a multiplayer experience (by feeding and otherwise griefing a League of Legends game, for instance) is still ruining a multiplayer experience even when done for the sake of simply acting like a troll, and is just as subject to warnings, punishment, and so on.
    • To put it another way, saying "it's just an act/that's just his or her persona" is not a good argument for defending actions that normally are subject to being held accountable.
  • Thus, as a general guideline, unless you want to be held accountable for it, don't do something that you might later be held accountable for, especially something equivalent to criminal activity.
    • At the personal level, harming and disrespecting other individuals directly (typically ones not in on the act) is where I draw the line for a poor choice of persona to act, since such actions are typically held highly accountable.

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