Category Archives: virtual worlds

Digindigenous- Neologism for a Wired World

For a paper I am writing about virtual worlds and the way institutional forces are shaping the filed, I needed a word to refer to organizations or other social phenomenon that arose or operate from within digital spaces: virtual worlds, social media, and other mileux of the matrix, the cyberspace, the metaverse.

I was playing with this neologism which I do not see anywhere yet.

Digindigenous: organizations, collectives, or other social phenomenon that emerge from within the socio-economic interactions of various cyberspaces.  Examples: Tringo (a game form within SL), electric sheep company (and other VW designers), the Uru diaspora, any number of virtual objects businesses (such as avatar or fashion companies), and so on.

The word is derived from digital + indigenous.

Is this a keeper?

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Filed under organization theory, Second Life, social theory, sociology, virtual worlds, words

Great Poster of Online Communities

I love this!

See if you can find Second Life!

Can you finnd second life?

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Filed under blogging, higher education, Social Networks, technology, virtual worlds, visualization

User Creativity, Governance, and the New Media

Ted and I have a publication out in First Monday. I have enjoyed the broad scope of the journal, and the editing process for an on-line journal is interesting.  The article is part of a special issue called “User Creatviity, Governance and the NEw Media.”  The editors are Bonnie Nardi and Yong Ming  Kow.

Please surf over to the First Monday site to read the paper, “Developing Virtual Worlds: The Interplay of Design, Communities, and Rationality.”

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Filed under digital culture, higher education, organization studies, organization theory, Second Life, virtual worlds

What is the size of the Metaverse?

I am working on one of my papers about the institutionalization of virtual worlds and I once again want some sort of clear statement about the size or scope of virtual worlds to quickly convince a reviewer that this is a “real” issue worth studying and that the hypecycle boom and bust around Second Life was a distraction from the real growth trends.

There is the widely cited Gartner figure of 80% of active users having an avatar by 2011. Many missed the adjective “active.” Gartner rightly, I think, was focusing on innovators and early adopters. It is still an eye-opening number.

There are academic papers documenting the dozens of worlds, as well as attempts to classify them along some variation of the following axes: overt gameness, ownership model, user-generated content, focus, or demographic target.

There is Castronova’s estimates of 20-40 million active users and economies on the scale of mid-sized countries (although this includes all those pesky MMO games).

I need to source this post better, but at least I have identified a few leads.

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Filed under organization studies, technology, virtual worlds

This NWN post, Rosedale leaving, does not surprise me. It seems a major management shift in parallel with a strategy shift was underway. I have been meaning to see more about the content policy, the class-action lawsuit against LL by content creators, and anything about new strategy.

All of these actions seem like mid-level, world-based responses/ How it will play out in terms of field dynamics and communities of users may be a great data slice for our papers.

I like Au’s two theories. I wonder if the physical interaction interface (the rig) is the more likely.

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Filed under organization theory, technology, virtual worlds

BlogHUD : Get a Second Life Blog

BlogHUD : Get a Second Life Blog – Second Life blogging community network and tools
what is a blogHUD?
The ‘blogHUD’ is a tool to let you blog from Second Life and crosspost your text posts or image postcards to your own blog or photo-sharing account.

This looks like it oculd be a useful tool for undergrads doing on-line ethnography.

Has anyone used it?

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Filed under blogging, Information and Communication Technology, Research, virtual worlds

What happens in SL stays in SL

I was thoinking about the businesses that people start up in SL or other virtual worlds.  That got me thinking about this word again that I invented (as far as I know). Digital + Indigenous= “Digindigenous.”  Prounced as “dij-in-dij-en-us.”  It is growing on me.  For example, a norm that emerges in SL (as opposed to something imported from RW) is said to be digindiegnous.

Here is original post form 2007:

I like to play with words.  When obtuse or overly specialized, this can become jargon in the worst sense of the word: words which deliberately obfuscate and insulate insiders.  When there is a new experience, a new phenomenon, the desire to name wells up and starts playing with words.

Operationalize is jargon.

Podcast is not.

I have seen people refer to the residents of virtual worlds (aside from editorializing them as geeks or nerds) as residents, digital natives, and so on.

Perhaps there is a whole category of practices and objects that are digitally native.

Hence, I humbly offer digital+indigenous= digindigenous.

Digindienous is not short and sweet, but it has a certain rhythm in saying it.

Maybe there is something better?

Digigenous?  Sounds like stuttering
Digenous?   Sounds to much like disingenuous.

Thoughts?

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Filed under sociology, virtual worlds, words

Civics, Politics in SecondLife

I wa slooking for a project for my undergraduate research studnet to work on.

The SL researchers listserv had a good suggestion.

Request:

He is interested in politics or civic discourse in virtual worlds.

Ideally, it would be a sim, island, community with either robust internal debate, or an explicit goal of being a forum, an agora of civics.

He would be doing some virtual ethnography to explore how expressiveness, community, and technology relate to political discourse.

And the first response form a Law School Professor:

1) If he hasn’t done already, he should read Tom Boellstorff’s book, Coming of Age in Second Life, which is a good example of doing ethnography in SL.

2) He might look into the Coalition of Democratic Sims (or something like that), which is a group of sims that have instituted some form of democratic governance.

I hope he keeps us posted on his work. It should be very interesting.

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Filed under Information and Communication Technology, Politics, Power, Activism, Research, virtual worlds

Discussion of governance at TN blog

Here is an interesting discussion of governance over at TN blog.

The premise is to compare Internet to VW governance and see how VWs differ.  Sensible approach (! one I am using!).

Reading it did make me wonder if we are using governance More broadly than it is usually used.  The post author, Ren Reynolds, is looking at very “normal” governance issues; taxation and criminal enforcement. And those are fine and good to look at.  I have just thinking about governance as not only government control, but the production of order especially from a phenomenological perspective.  How do people feel or experience a VW as regularized or ordered?  The basis for that experience of order (or ordering) includes the code written by programmers working for firms constrianed by national governments. But it also includes the more normative and cogntive sources of patterning and order (look, NOT being surprosed by non human avatars is a certain kind of order.  A libertarian one, i suppose).

That is why I keep looping back to neo-institutional theory.

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Filed under Information and Communication Technology, Politics, Power, Activism, Research, virtual worlds

Politics inside or outside the magic circle?

The magic circle seems a key concept in virtual worlds and gaming.  For origin of the term from Huzinga, see here.

The wikipedia article, in summarizing Castronova’s arguments, states:

Even though there are political activities inside synthetic worlds, it is interesting to note that “debates, which really do involve legitimate political interests, almost always occur outside the membrane rather than inside it.”[16

How about for SL?  Do these discussions happen inside or out?  What about other VWs?  Isn’t the story in Second Life Herald all about sparking these types of discussions in-world?  In TSO and also in SL?  And the apocryphal account of LambdaMOO discussion about the cyber rape was also in that world.

And is the point whether the discussion is between self-identified people or avatars?

Lastly, ignoring above distinction for the time, one of the lessons I draw from how discussions happen outside the membrane is that it is further proof of how users of VWs and MMOs are part of a broader institutional field.

“The organizational field isolates for analysis a system of organizations operating in the same realm as defined by relational linkages and shared cultural rules and meaning systems(118)”

(from: Scott, W. R., Davis, G. F., & Scott, W. R. (2007). Organizations and organizing : Rational, natural, and open systems perspectives (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.)

So, in the out-of-membrane discussions about politics, we see a network of players, or a community, instead of an organization formally, but nonetheless engaging in joint enterprise.  THis network is defined by its relation to the virtual world and also to other networks of players/users and also worlds.  They discuss and strategize about political questions pertaining to the synthetic world in ways that reveal shared (or contested) cultural rules and meaning systems,  What makes for  a good game?  What is fair?  What should different parties do?  These are questions relevant only in the context of a field.

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Filed under Gaming, organization theory, Research, social theory, technology, virtual worlds