Volume 16, Number 8
November 10, 2009

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alev değimCüneyt found a lonely Black Sheep on their farm. Oh no!

After technical analysis and legal evaluation based on the catalog crimes of the law no 5651, administrative measure has been taken for this website (zynga.com) according to decision no 421.02.02.2009-272446 dated 02/10/2009 of “Telekomünikasyon İletişim Başkanlığı”

On a sunny afternoon in October, which the World Mothers Association (WMO) has decided to blame for their children's overuse of deodorant, the auto-message above popped up on Joe Blow's computer screen. How come, when all he wanted was to get his daily dose of shunning society by playing Farmville, a cyber agrarian experience?

Farmville is a Facebook application where you, the little blonde farmer guy, are expected to run a virtual farm. Basically, all you do is plant stuff, plow land and then harvest. As you earn money and finish levels by selling crops, the scope of available crops to plant expands. To look like more of a middle-aged American guy who would have to think about lots of things before he sleeps, you can also raise weird animals like elephants or strawberry cows and help other people achieve the ultimate aim of being human, socialization.

farmvilleJoe Blow, on the other hand, is an imaginary character that I've created just two minutes ago. Readers of my column would have realized that in my column, I like to call my generation “our country's hope for the future.” Well, I also would like to refer to Joe Blow as “one of the brightest minds of my generation.” In this respect, he looks very much like me. However, as you will realize throughout the story, we aren't the same person.

To start with, he is an engineering student, but I'm not. He is a huge fan of Fenerbahçe, while little by little my interest in Galatasaray decreases, which by the way has nothing to do with our recent defeat. Also, he has read that book called The Secret, and I haven't. However this is not the right time for me to make a critical comparison of us. Instead let's just go with Joe's story.

It all began back in the early 2000s, when I was spending most of my pocket money in Internet cafes over games like Counterstrike or Winning Eleven. In contrast, Joe Blow was very fond of some computer programs called ICQ or MIRC.

A few years later, after staring at those weird programs for a sufficient amount of time, NASA scientists announced in their spare time that it was okay for Joe to switch to Youtube and begin plaguing his friends with funny videos. They wouldn't pay him for it, but Joe was okay with that. It only took a few days for us to call him an expert on Youtube. He knew who would like what kind of videos, when he should laugh or stop the video and repeat the joke. Those were the days when my relationship with many girls would take a turn for the worse because of my squeaky voice, while Joe would only laugh to that monkey video and therefore we wouldn't actually know how he sounds. 

Then again, after a given period, there came Facebook, a platform where I could spend the rest of my life if my basic needs were met. Joe's relationship with Facebook is very much like any of yours, apparently not like mine, because I'm not a fan of my primary school friends or Farmville, only status updates. However, Joe seems to like the Farmville most. The reason is obvious, actually: Similar to any other typical average Joe, he has always dreamed of a two-story house with a garden where he could raise his own tomatoes and cucumbers. And his compulsive behavior of playing Farmville serves his aim at least for the short run. I might think that Farmville is the stupidest game (although I was once tricked into it by thousands of Facebook requests), that doesn't necessarily mean I think it should be banned. I guess it isn't really a surprise for a country where nearly 6,000 websites are banned. Some claim that it isn't about the game, but the website-but who cares? It is a game that had more than 60 million active users this month; so people (in our case Joe) obviously like it a lot, and it is banned without rational explanation. And I know that this is neither the very first nor the last game to be banned. Tomorrow the victim may be one of those I like most, like Facebook, Gmail or Blogger. Or the Café World game, another application request I've just declined.

By Cüneyt Yılmaz ( ECON/II )

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