?

Log in

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Virtual Lives?

  • Jan. 27th, 2009 at 11:11 AM
kitten
For part of my course I am looking at Virtual Communities, and after doing some research I've become quite interested in how interactions in virtual worlds impact on people in real life - as well as more general topics such as why people decide to become part of virtual communities online, and how they work - e.g. politics, economy etc.

I am mostly looking at communities like Second Life, World of Warcraft and Sociolotron, for example, and would be really interested to hear from anyone who has first hand experiences of being part of such a community:

- Why did you join in the first place?
- Are you still part of the community? (if not why not?)
- Do you think virtual life can take over real life?
- How do the virtual politics work (law and order, crime and punishment?)
- Have you ever been a victim of a virtual crime?
- Is there a way to make real money virtually?
- Are there any other benefits to you as a real person in being involved in a virtual community?

I'm also looking at social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Bebo etc, with regards to how people's treatment of you online influences your feelings towards them in the real world. Some of the questions above also apply, but also:

- How insulted are you if someone 'defriends' you (even if they're someone you never talk to)?
- Do you think social networking sites are better for keeping in touch with people you know or for meeting people you don't know - why did you join?
- Is there an etiquette to be observed with regards to changing your relationship status? How does this affect your relationships in the real world, if at all?

Plus any other experiences you'd like to share would be really useful.

I've made this post public and put anonymous posting on (or rather, I will when I figure out how to EDIT: can someone *please* let me know how to do this on this entry without changing the settings for my entire journal - I am being a dumb blonde!) - if you'd rather send me a message than post on my LJ then that's cool too. Thanks for any help you can give me, will be muchly appreciated!

Comments

themikado wrote:
Jan. 27th, 2009 12:23 pm (UTC)
I don't mind posting about this in public. :-) I have one main experience of a virtual community and one main experience of a social networking site.

World of Warcraft
I joined because I love role-playing games and always have, and my housemate downloaded a free trial. I did as well, and got hooked. And yes, I still play.

Virtual life can definitely impact real life. In WoW when you're running a dungeon or a raid you have to set aside a few hours to do it in. You can also get very involved in completing quests and levelling your character. So that cuts into the time for other things.

There are game rules that if broken mean your account gets suspended - harassment, spamming, using robot scripts to powerlevel, selling gold, etc. That area is taken care of by the GMs (game masters) who are Blizzard's police force. They tend to be reactive rather than proactive though, so you usually have to report someone before they'll do anything.

More interestingly, there is social etiquette in various situations. One of the most frowned upon things you can do in a collaborative dungeon situation (where everyone has to work together to achieve the goal) is to be a 'ninja' - which means you're only along for the exclusive loot you can get in dungeons. Ninjaing is usually punished by immediate kicking from the group, and a warning to others that you are not to be trusted.

I've been in a group with a ninja, and I left it when it became clear that the rest of the group weren't going to take any action. So it goes. It is possible to make real money in WoW (by selling gold or powerlevelling services) though this is prohibited by the terms of service.

As for other benefits, it is fun to meet new and interesting people and kill monsters with them. :-)
themikado wrote:
Jan. 27th, 2009 12:26 pm (UTC)
Facebook
I don't recall anyone ever defriending me but I have over 350 'friends' so I don't know if I'd notice! I doubt I'd be that bothered though. I use Facebook to keep in touch with people I know. I've never met anyone on it and I don't really plan to. I joined because several of my friends had joined and it was a good place to share photos, among other things.

As long as you discuss it with the other person (assuming they already have Facebook) then you can change your relationship status however you want. It's only polite to let someone know you're dumping them before you tell the entire internet...
pinksparklystar wrote:
Jan. 27th, 2009 07:47 pm (UTC)
That's just the kind of thing I was looking for (to both - particularly WoW as I have very little experience of it myself), thank you muchly :).
wordsfromrob wrote:
Jan. 27th, 2009 07:17 pm (UTC)
On the last point, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/staffordshire/7845946.stm and http://xkcd.com/355/ - I decided that the stigma involved in changing your relationship status was so big that I removed mine just in case I ever (think I've) stop(ped) being single.

I definitely feel bad if I decline a friend request from someone I may vaguely distantly have known, but I don't think I'd be offended if some I don't speak with deleted me.
pinksparklystar wrote:
Jan. 27th, 2009 07:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks muchly, I love the xkcd link, I might put it in my presentation :). Chris sent me the one about the Facebook murder yesterday - it's the reason why I decided to bring social networking sites into it as well... crazy.
n0tasquirrel wrote:
Jan. 27th, 2009 11:16 pm (UTC)
- How insulted are you if someone 'defriends' you (even if they're someone you never talk to)?

I haven't noticed if people do it to me as I only concern myself with people I regualrly see and care about. Plus generally I'm a bit guilty of de-friending people when they piss me off beyond reconcilliation or if I never speak to them as they were some twit from high school with 5000000 friends.

- Do you think social networking sites are better for keeping in touch with people you know or for meeting people you don't know - why did you join?

Keeping in touch with people I know, a lot of people sort out birthdays etc through facebook groups, and it saves on mass texting people to go/ to ask if such and such is going etc. Plus random people from school I don't care a lot about say hi/ tell me about their wonderful fun baby so it's good for polite contact with people you don't mind but ...um, don't want much further contact with? (I sound harsh >_>)

- Is there an etiquette to be observed with regards to changing your relationship status? How does this affect your relationships in the real world, if at all?

I've never had a serious relationship status, I think I'm currently married to Kay. And that started as a joke to 'ward off' a creepy guy :P
oh_lovely_kings wrote:
Jan. 28th, 2009 09:40 am (UTC)
I'm also "engaged" on facebook, and I think it had something to do with this guy who fancies me then 'defriending' me on facebook. He obviously wanted me to know he'd done it and wanted to hurt me, so it was interesting that his choice of weapon was doing something over facebook rather than texting me or something.