ideas, innovations and apps for social work in the age of smartphones and social media
Interacting with Iconic Characters Provides an Ego Boost
Published on June 27, 2012 by Stephanie Newman, Ph.D. in Apologies To Freud
Recently I chatted with baseball Hall of Famer Ty Cobb.
No, I am not a Medium.
Our exchange occurred on Twitter, home to The Dowager’s Hat (Downtown Abby), a cohort of James Bond 007 players, various Mad Men and West Wing characters, a (fake) Real Housewife, and a literary contingent that includes the late Mary Wollstonecraft. My many colorful encounters have left me wondering why so many have chosen to inhabit the personas of others, fictional and long dead.
Psychoanalysts have long used examples from literature, art, cinema, and television to illustrate psychological constructs. While character studies may be enriching and absorbing, they beg the question: why voice a fictional persona?
The reasons behind role play are as varied as the participants themselves. Some find therapeutic value in working out their characters’ dilemmas. Others use Twitter as a soapbox, or a means to entertain, and in it find a welcome social outlet. Still others enjoy writing dialogue and scripting scenes. Take Miguel; a novelist, theatre critic, and resident of Spain, who enjoys the challenge of writing in a language, not his first, in agender, not his own—and who manages to nail it every time. Miguel’s character, a female, stages scenes in which groups of role players relive moments from a certain show and reenact events from history, together creating a sort of living historical fan fiction. “I interact with a lot of interesting people, and they have enriched my life, even beyond Twitter,” he told me by email.