Hate Social Computing? Think Role Play!

I am one of those cranky people who see new social technologies like Twitter and MySpace and ask “Why do I want to tell this stuff to strangers?” or “Why should I care what some guy in Denver is doing Friday night?
But I am intrigued by the FICTIONAL incarnations of these tools where people assume virtual identities based on know historical or fictional figures and then do their blogs, Twitter and MySpace profiles.
Many classes like history and business have latched on to role play, but these technologies take it to a whole new level. Man
Thus far my favorite examples have been:

Silliness aside, there is a chance here for students to explore the messiness of politics and daily life from previous generations in a way that makes it more real. Thomas Paine had his pamphlets, but I’m pretty sure he’d be a prolific blogger today.

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