Second Life a social networking site?
So apparently Second Life is aiming to be a social networking site. Well I think that’s grand. This distinction sets it out from “games” (which it most emphatically is not) and moves it a step forward towards a mass acceptance of virtual worlds as useful and non-stigmatised social spaces.
Here’re my arguments for why SL is a social networking space:
Second Life extends the networking focus from shared interest to situated experience. Like previous 3D representations in the social networking space (e.g., The Sims Online), this application incorporates many of the facilities available in 2D social network sites (profiles, personalisation, groups, events, multimedia) which connect people through perceived similarity, desires to align oneself to a reference group, and demarcations of group belonging. Importantly, 3D networking invokes a representational context through which these connections can become more intimate and meaningful by situating them in unique modes of expression and interactivity.
The 3D environment enhances the richness of “meeting”, “hanging out” and “visiting” friends and colleagues in cyberspace. It allows participants to see and hear not only music and words, but to meet avatars, walk around their virtual homes and sit at their virtual dinner tables.
Second Life features explicit networking facilities, including Group affiliations, Friends lists, publicly-viewable Avatar Ratings, and profiles. What it does not do is articulate connections; except for one significant relationship, Residents cannot see the connections of any other avatar. In their place, the networking mechanics in Second Life lie in the Group level. Sunbgroups are encouraged to gather at live events in order to mingle in person and forge interpersonal connections in much the same way as networking events function offline. It then provides the platform in which to extend these relationships.
danah disagrees tho.
More by me on the social elements of virtual worlds:
*MMOGs + Orkut/Friendster = the ultimate in social software or an in-game nuisance?
*What a WoW of a way to get to know someone
*Virtual worlds, visiting rights and restraining orders
(All above links courtesy of the gamesblog)
~ by aleks on November 28, 2006.