Joined: 07 Aug 2006
Location: University of Toronto
Posted: Thu Aug 10, 2006 5:46 pm Post subject: Second Life, social networks and virtual capital
As i am one of those people who spend considerable time on Second Life, i just want to offer some food for thought...
I'm interested in the building/creation of social networks in SL and how these social networks (or lack thereof) might shape people's experiences in virtual spaces....
For example, if you are new to the game or virtual reality and know few people - how will you do in the game/vr? if you have an existing social network in the game already - you have people to help you out/you're not alone; there is an element of helping each other out and so forth, but what happens when you don't know anyone in the online game/vr? do you have someone to go to when you have a question? who will show you the tricks and the trade/the ins and outs of the game/vr?
One thing i've found in SL is that most people are pretty open to newbies and will often offer help - or mentoring even (i've seen this in video game play as well, where people will mentor a new user online and teach them how to play the game).
What they will also do, is give things or objects to new people. Here's an example. When i first started out, i had few objects such as clothing and so forth. I made a comment in a shopping area, that i was looking for such and such, and almost immediately another person offered me these items, and then some. i thought this was fascinating. here is someone who doesnt know me at all - online or offline, but is offering help and objects to get me started in the virtual reality. There is a strong sense of community building and maintenance in SL.
So, how important are social networks in gaming (broadly)? what can we gain from them (ie: mentoring, virtual social capital, reciprocity, community building)? how so social networks 'work' in virtual reality? how are they created and maintained? is there a blurring into offline spaces? is this something we need to talk about?
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