When first entering the world of Netprov, Thermophiles in Love, I was excited as well as hesitant in approaching this new experience. When discussing this in class I immediately thought of it as an online dating site, but with a twist. I have never done any online dating so I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into, but knowing this assignment was for a class, I knew that there had to be something more to it, something worth learning about.
There were 5 different genders of cells you could have been and each had their own personality traits, just like humans have. The genders were basically stereotyped in a way we stereotype different groups in a high school setting. For example, Hype, was the so- called “jock” of the group in that those who were considered Hype were classified as, “too cool for school.” Another example of the type of different genders was Acido; those were the “outspoken and stuck- up” types who were mainly only concerned with their appearance the way a popular girl would be in high school. The gender I was assigned to be an Obli, and that gender, my gender, was considered to be a “sensitive soul” type of cell. We like to overthink every situation and choose our words carefully. It was funny to me that this was the gender given to me because that is kind of how I am in real life so it was very easy for me to get into my character. By the way, my character’s name is Obli_MimosaPudica and for those who do not know, Mimosa Pudica is a “shy” or “sensitive” plant and I found this appropriate to relate to the theme of cells and some kind of science related topic, and also it relates to the type of gender I was given.
Overall, I enjoyed playing this interactive collaboration for about half an hour everyday whenever I got the chance. I was able to break out of my shell, which as an Obli, was usually closed very tightly and not allowing others to enter. The only thing I found disconcerting was the theme of the entire Netprov. I felt as though if you did not have an decent background on the subject of cells or anything else relating to that then it was hard to understand some of the things the other players were discussing in order to remain focused on its theme. I found myself entering Google and trying to explore new types of phrases and ideas in a scientific method in order to portray a character that knew what I was trying to say and in a clever sort of manner.
While going through this experience day-by-day, I realized that people were really trying to portray their genders for what and who they really were, but I also noticed some genders trying to break free of that stereotype. For example, there were several Obli’s who explained their shyness and bashfulness, but explored the ideas of acting as if they were of the gender Hype, basically the total opposite of them. It was interesting to see people respond to my discussions, I did not believe I would receive so many comments and it was definitely a confidence booster for me in the Netprov, online world. My nervousness of the whole idea deceased more and more with each day that passed and I was able to make some great interactions with some great characters, whether they were in my same gender or in another gender.
Some new things I have learned from this entire experience were the connections people made and how when people are hidden by this kind of secret identity, they are much more opened into saying exactly how they feel. I connected this with electronic literature because of how I feel when I am reading someone else’s Elit piece and I try and notice the way I am feeling about that piece and at the same time trying to get a feel on the reader and how they want us, as the reader and as the audience to feel what messages they are trying to get across.
We were able to share our thoughts and ideas about the discussions we posted throughout the week and discovering the way other genders pursued not only their reactions, but the reactions of other cells only made it that much more interesting and that much for entertaining. This is what kept drawing me back, trying to discover what is being said and how it was being said. I definitely enjoyed this experience and felt no inconvenience when it came time to allowing myself to interact with these people who I either did or did not know.