How do tweens use social media? Tween correspondent and style contributor Radical Rosa gives us her expert opinion on the subject. She uses a variety of social and communication media to stay connected with friends, but Fantage is her favorite social game, because it allows her not just to hang out, but also get creative by writing stories and then making movies using the avatars.
PL: What is the difference between hanging out in person and hanging out over Facetime or Skype?
RR: I like hanging out with my friends in person, of course, but it’s so much easier to just get on your computer and see who’s there.
PL: Who’s on Fantage?
RR: Everyone at my school pretty much. All of the 5th grade girls and half of the 5th grade boys.
PL: What is Fantage? Is it a game or is it something more?
RR: Fantage is a place that you can get together with your friends wherever they are around the world; and a place where you can meet new people, too. Fantage has more than 100 places to go to and about 50 games to play. You can go shopping, dress up your character, or do some runway modeling and get “money” for it. It’s like human life except it’s a safe chat. The rules about what you can and cannot say are pretty strict.
PL: When and how did you discover Fantage? Do you tell other people about it?
RR: All of my friends used to play a game called club penguin. I got bored with it and someone in my school. So I checked it out and a month later I was a premium member. All of my friends, except for the boys, have now switched. My friend Mena was skyping with me and suddenly she said she had to go. I asked her where and she said a super secret site that almost no-one plays on. I asked her, “You mean Fantage?” She looked at me and said, “How did you know that? Are you psychic?” I said, “No, I just saw you in the Star cafe.” I said, “You use the same user name as everywhere else, you dressed just like you do in real life and you’re saying the same things.” I guess we’re not that different wherever we hang out.
PL: How much time do you spend playing Fantage? What’s interesting?
RR: I am on Fantage every time I’m allowed to use my computer. What I think is really funny on Fantage is that you have to constantly come up with new names to describe things that you’re not allowed to talk about. For example, we used to use “bf” for “boyfriend.” Then they banned it. We we used “beb”—they caught on to that, too. Here’s the whole list and where we are now: bf->beb->veb->vev->vav->viv->v!v.
PL: You mentioned a social aspect of Fantage, how do you relate it to the social media platforms you are currently using?
RR: I’m also using Google +. It’s not really designed for my age group. On the upside, you can say whatever you want and you’re not restricted from words like e-mail or hair dye, but you can’t exactly have a character you can bring places. There’s not a lot of games on Google+.
PL: What do you think about social media?
RR: They’re awesome. It’s great to be able talk to anybody anywhere. I have friends in Germany, too, and I can just talk to them or play games with them just by clicking a button instead of going on an airplane for 10 hours! My mom couldn’t do that when she first moved here, she couldn’t even do e-mail, she just wrote letters. And I can see any of my friends on all of my electronics in seconds.