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Roleplaying: A Social Media Sensation

Urban Dictionary
For many of us social media has become both the crux and the bane of our existence. Social media has meant that we're able to be more social then we've ever been before but it also means we don't often get to shut off. People are starting to want a time waster that allows them to both relax and use their brain while they're being social and that's something roleplaying can provide. A lot of you are likely to let your thoughts wander into smutty territory with my use of that word but for certain groups of people, that just isn't what roleplaying is.

On sites like Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and so on you'll find tons of fake accounts for characters you know and love as well as characters you don't with familiar celebrity faces. What a lot of these accounts are used for is playing out a story - or a series of them - using social media. It is basically writing with other people, only depending on what forum or social media you're using the rules and style change. These character and group accounts are what are termed as roleplaying.

A roleplay I ran | Tumblr
Roleplay is a good activity to get into if you want to better your writing. Certain types of post or roleplay may not give you much to go on, a sentence or two and a gif for instance but the more you write with other people, the more you'll improve. Writing out action with each other, or "para-ing" as it's called on some sites, is where you'll notice things change. This is where the idea that it's writing with other people comes from because that is what you're doing, you're just only focused on your character's actions. An example of a para reply is something along the lines of:

Elliot shifted about, his legs brushing Christopher’s gently as he let himself relax again. “You might want to play hooky but I'm still planning on going in,” he commented wryly, trying to keep the atmosphere light. Living together was a lot better when he and Christopher got along well and he wanted to try and keep it that way  for as long as possible. But even as he talked about going into work he didn’t move. He probably should go and shower but maybe Christopher did have a point about it being too early. “I guess we can have a few more minutes though. It is early,” Elliot relented as he pulled the blankets back over himself and the rest of the sofa. 

When I started rping, I'd post one sentence replies, they weren't that good but they usually got to the point I wanted to make to move things along. These days I tend to write three or four paragraphs a reply on average. On Gaia I'm what you might call a Literate roleplayer and on Tumblr I'm...slightly unusual and my para heavy roleplay ideas don't usually go anywhere. With roleplay it's important to work out how you write best and how much you can write on average. If you can only spin out a couple of sentences then just do that. If you don't have much time to rp then try tweets, if you'd rather have lots of conversations with gifs of your characters then Tumblr, and if you want to write your stories in a more traditional way then try out forums. You can roleplay using actors and models as your face claims or you can use cartoon characters. Your imagination is the limit as long as you can find someone else who wants to do it with you.

A warning I have to give is to look into what sort of roleplay you're looking at. There will be people out there looking for something more and there will be roleplays on sensitive subjects. It's still social media so make it clear what you're comfortable with and avoid any creeps. Forums like Gaia may have a PG-13 policy so you can assure that things will be clean there and on websites like Tumblr many roleplays have a rule that you have to be 16-18+ to join due to adult themes.

A forum rp banner | GaiaOnline
So why am I telling you all this? Like I said, roleplaying is a good way to practice your writing and it really is all over social media. You'll find people rping in Youtube comments, in the chat section of game websites and all sorts of places other than I listed. It's a fun activity that can help people forget the world just as much as reading or watching something can. Some people will still judge others for roleplaying and I don't think they should. If it's not for you then don't do it but it's something more people should be made aware of. There are books starting to come out that were inspired by roleplays just as there are fanfiction and there are plenty of authors who'd like to test their characters out with others. Social media shouldn't just be about sharing news, hate and what you like. It should also be about experiencing new things in a safe environment, and roleplaying can provide that.

If at least one person reads this article and decides maybe they'd like to check roleplaying out or someone who already rps feels satisfied that roleplaying is finally being mentioned then I'll have done something right. It's not something you should let take over your life, as many social media trends do, nor should you not think before getting involved but if you're friendly and open to try things then it could be a lot of fun.


 Rosina Brooker

Rosina is a Songbird rookie with a degree in Creative Writing. She's trying to focus on her novel on the side but is hoping that Content Writing will turn out to be a good career choice in the mean time! Follow her @RosinaAtSMF


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Roleplaying: A Social Media Sensation Reviewed by Rosina Brooker on Thursday, January 28, 2016 Rating: 5

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