Monday, January 19, 2009

Tribes

video

We all live in tribes whether we like to admit it or not. We exist in tribes that are defined by the schools we attend, the clothes we wear or even the television shows we watch. Tribes exist because they define our existences. They define who we are, and by those definitions, we become more aware of ourselves.

Tribalism of course tends to, more importantly, also define who we exclude (more often than not, everybody else) and who we include in our circles (inner or otherwise). By associating myself with a moniker of gamer, I’m automatically placing myself within the tribe of gamers. But even within that (relatively) large tribe, there are further subdivisions. More accurately, I’m a PC gamer. I don’t play console games and due to that fact, I also see console gaming as a watered down experience of PC gaming. (No offense, console gamers…no, really…) PC gamers can be further broken down into specific clans as well. I am an MMO player and that means that I associate myself with other MMO players. But wait. There is a further breakdown because I specifically play Warhammer Online, the best MMO at the present moment. World of Warcraft fans of course would be baying for my head at the moment but as far as I’m concerned, it’s only because they are flogging that dead horse. (no offens…Ah fergitaboutit) Break that down further and with guilds and all that within the game, I specialise my associations until they are so specific that that is what eventually defines me (at least as a gamer).

What does this have to do with today’s video posting?

Well, Microsoft, in retaliation to the Apple Mac “I’m a Mac” advertisements has rather cleverly tried to consolidate (or lead us to believe that they have) every single tribe out there with their new advertisement. With the “I’m a Mac” ad, Apple has managed to define the Mac existence as one that is encapsulated by “cool”, “hip” and “trendy”. i.e. IF you buy our product, you are cool, hip and trendy. (This is, of course, a myth, as proven by people who own iPods who are everything but cool, hip and trendy…) Microsoft, as the face of the PC, has instead, decided to go the other way. They state that by buying into their product, you are joining a tribe of millions. It states that even if you are the downtrodden and the disenfranchised, the PC tribe welcomes you. It states that even if you are not cool, hip and trendy, you still have a place with the tribe. Interesting counterattack, really. (That said, you’re still in the tribe with Eva Langoria and some dude that breaks the law, so you’re still in good company.)

At the end of the day, however, Microsoft is still trying to sell their “side”*. And despite the fact that they are all welcoming, Macs aren’t invited. This “side” however is arbitrary because Microsoft also sells Mac users their products. But it is a noble attempt at making PC users feel a whole lot better about themselves. After all, we all feel comfortable when we are in numbers. The advertisement sure does make that number seem all that much bigger, which, I suppose, is everything that tribalism should aim to achieve.

Touche, Microsoft. Touche.

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