Category Archives: Second Life

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

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

Bringing Second Life To Life: Researchers Create Character With Reasoning Abilities of a Child

Wow ! Welcome Hal 2000! Or the Oracle. Or agent Smith.

RPI: News & Events – Bringing <i>Second Life</i> To Life: Researchers Create Character With Reasoning Abilities of a Child

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Filed under innovation, Second Life, technology

Thoughts on SL Banking ban

I know I’ve talked to people about virtual worlds and when they point out that it is “odd” or somehow “wrong” for people to adopt other identities, I sometimes repsond that the ability to do so, or at least, the ability to do anything meaningful as your alter ego, will be limited by how porous the boundary between virtual and real wrold is.  moreover, that barrier is getting more porous in most cases.  As virtual worlds develop, what people want to do in and iwth them will bump against the very real world of durable identity and the need for regulation

So, the fall out from the banking crisis as described in his WSJ article seems to affirm my point.

First, only in SL  :>):

Cheer Up, Ben: Your Economy Isn’t As Bad as This One – WSJ.com
On Sunday night, the female character was wandering topless through the virtual lobby of a Second Life bank called BCX Bank, where a sign said it was “not currently accepting deposits or paying interest.”

I still don’t get very well what these banks’ business model was?  What is their loan portfolio?  How could they possible deliver 100% returns?  The answers are not clear.  I suppose partly it is speculative dynamics around land.  Do the bankers know about Linden’s plans to control land supply?  Would that constitute insider information?  Or, through fast growth SL business; this was the story behind Ginko Financial which failed last summer and was purportedly investing in gambling in SL (another story of regulation).

For example, how can this guy say the ban will not effect his business?

Cheer Up, Ben: Your Economy Isn’t As Bad as This One – WSJ.comSteve Smith, who runs BCX bank under the avatar name Travis Ristow, yesterday said depositors — who are owed a total of $20,000 — will be able to get their money back next week. The bank, which had promised to pay depositors more than 200% in annual interest, is now allowing only small withdrawals.

“This won’t affect us long term. It’s just a short-term difficulty,” said Mr. Smith, 40 years old, who also has significant land and real-estate interests in Second Life. He said he retired from the real-life mortgage business to devote his time exclusively to his Second Life enterprises.

Finally, there is one mention that one bank was arbitraging Linden-US exchanges to the tune of $15,000/year in profit. and

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Filed under Banking, Business, policy, Political Economy, Second Life, virtual worlds

Serious Play… A Title for Paper on Second Life

Here is the abstract Ted and I are working from. I am not sure whether to go for the Organization and Management Theory division or the Organization and Communication Information Systems division of AOM.

Titles?

The Influence of Economic and Social Incentive on the Evolution of Virtual Worlds

OR

Serious Play in Synthetic Worlds: Theorizing the Sustainability of
Second Life

Jordi Comas, Bucknell University

Ted Tschang, Singapore Management University

Abstract

The hype and dashed expectations over Second Life simply highlights the
need for a better understanding of the nature of SW. SL is an important
case because it highlights how the dynamics between individual play and
collective socioeconomics drive the evolution of a SW. Early attempts
to comprehensively understand SW have privileged either a view of SWs as
games or as marketing channels. We attempt to correct this view by
proposing a comprehensive framework for theorizing the evolution and
sustainability of a SW using SL as one example of this process. Our
framework is a “bathtub” model to explain joint processes at individual
and collective levels. The motivations of users to participate are
broadly described as play, although work done on video games and
role-playing offer important types of play. However, due to the
persistence and open-endedness of SL, the motives of users are only part
of the picture. The evolution of social and economic systems (a system
of roles, exchanges, and even institutions) continually alters the world
that playful or role-playing users interact with even as their actions
affect the evolution at a higher level. Once we develop a framework to
identify user motivations and forms of economic and social organization,
we validate it with a series of illustrations. We conclude by
developing a research agenda derived from the framework that will guide
researchers and inform discussions about the keys to success in SWs.

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Filed under digital culture, economic sociology, higher education, Research, Second Life, social theory

Peer-Reviewed Journals – SaLamanderWiki

Peer-Reviewed Journals – SaLamanderWiki

Aha!  A list of peer-reviewed journals.  That is nice to see since I am trying to publish an article about SL.  I wonder about SSRN?  Something else I ave been meaning  to check out.

First Monday as on my radar screen.  Ted, the others…?

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Filed under Research, Second Life, virtual worlds

Very nice overview of SL

Found this very nice slide show overview of SL…

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Filed under pedagogy, Second Life

My first Linden $

Right now my avatar is over in SL sitting in a chair.  If it (I) sit for 15 minutes, I earn $3 Linden dollars.  Apparently, 18.5 hours will get me one US $.  Whooppee.  This is called camping.

Giving procrastination a whole new name.

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Filed under Information and Communication Technology, New Projects, Second Life

Second Life’s Real-World Problems

A student of mine (Thanks Ellie!) found this article about SL in Time.  Does the SLLA want no commerce?  Or no bricks-and-mortar commerce? Is this anarchy or mercantilism?  And what did Linden do to SLLA?  Any sanctions?

Second Life’s Real-World Problems – TIME
The dilemma for Linden Lab, the company running Second Life, is how to rein in its creation without alienating hard-core users. Fans love the site as a way to meet people and experiment in self-expression. And companies are drawn to these techno-savvy trendsetters who spent 22 million hours on the site last month. But some devotees are so upset by increasing commercialization that a group called the Second Life Liberation Army last year gunned down virtual shoppers at American Apparel. So-called griefing, or on-site harassment, is on the rise. Says Gartner research chief Steve Prentice: “Second Life is moving into a phase of disillusionment.”

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Filed under Protest, Resistance, Second Life, Social Network Sites

Banking Crisis in Second Life and the Convergence of real and virtual

Second Life Research: Banking Crisis in Second Life — Calls for Regulation

This blog post form one of my new favorite blogs, Second LifeResearch (because it helps me sort out the reams of info about SL) describes how an investment bank with $750,000 collapsed.  With no SL FDIC to back up deposits, the money is gone.  While this will surely make many people’s jaws drop as they start to mouth silently or out loud “what kind of idiot would put real money in a virtual bank?!?!” the blog post points out that many residents have nothing esle to do with their money. The fallout will be more oversight, by organized residents or Linden Lab itself, or, more likely, both.

I was thinking more about Edward Castronova’s point in Synthetic Worlds.  In the introduction, I found him trying to say that synthetic worlds have many of the same features as real worlds.  As they become more ubiquitous, they will become more like the real world.  This is the convergence argument.  And I find it compelling.  This banking story is a great example.  However, Castronova, at the same time as he is normalizing synthetic worlds to make them palatable to the academic/technophobe crowd, wants and needs to say that there is something profoundly unique in them  Well, this presents a dilemma.  SL is supposed to be just like the real world and also totally different!

As I read the book more, and think about my own research, I will have to resolve this dilemma more satisfactorily.  What is distinctive about the sociology of Second Life?

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Filed under Banking, Information and Communication Technology, Second Life