Joining the USDF
Video documentation here
For my online intervention I joined the United States Defense Force(USDF) on Habbo Hotel. The USDF promises users a money making career in either the Army, Air Force, Marines or Navy. I joined the army and was quickly put through basic training where I had to have an approved hair style and uniform. The job I had (which is the same job as most) was to sit at the front desk and try to recruit users. How to recruit more users was the main focus of the various trainings (called TREATs) that I attended. I originally was interested in seeing how this community mimicked the army and whether it inner workings and work environment would be similar. I also wanted to know why people would join this community so I asked various people / listened in on conversations / read people’s stories in online forums. Some people have been part of this community for years, to be actively part of the USDF one has to log in and “work” every 6 six days minimum otherwise you will be discharged. In my own experience I became frustrated with the pace of the job, I spent most of my time sitting at a desk staring a laptop. I became concerned because multiple individuals (outside the USDF) told me to quit and that I was being scammed. I asked some users outside the USDF why this organization exists and found out that those who run these organizations make money by people paying to rise in rank and from ad money from the group website. After hearing this is, I visited the USDF website and found that a profile had already been made for my character, including my rank and my avatar. It is also important I mention that I joined the USDF with a female avatar and have so far had 3 experiences with my male counterparts that made me feel varying levels of discomfort.