Click here to take a short survey (less than 30 minutes) created by Peter Nagy, an academic fellow with Central European University in Budapest, who's using it for his a doctoral thesis, which is on "the relationship between offline and online identities and consumption practices in Second Life", as he describes it-- and he's paying the first 300 respondents L$1000 each to complete it.
I had a look at his questions, and they'll likely bring up some fascinating insights on that subject, which I'll be blogging about as the data comes available. More from Peter (whose SL account name is VirtualMesmer):
Continue reading "Take a Short Research Survey on Second Life Identity & Consumption Practices for L$1000" »
Iris Ophelia's ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style
"Getting naked in the virtual world — more women than men show flesh!", ABC News breathlessly reported recently, citing research by
Canadian academic Matthieu Guitton, who was totally amazed to discover
that female Second Life avatars tend to bare a lot of skin, you guys.
That's supposed to be surprising news -- but it's actually just the
latest evidence that most major media outlets and a lot of academics
don't know much about virtual worlds. It's not exactly like ABC is a stranger to women baring skin themselves. The picture above, a parody of a different but no less popular set of housewives, is by celebrated SL photographer James Schwarz, and it illustrates my biggest issue with this article beautifully.
This point is probably
painfully obvious to most NWN readers, but in case ABC News or would-be
virtual world researchers are still confused, let me explain:
Continue reading "ABC News Surprised Female Second Life Avatars Bare More Skin Than Males -- Iris Surprised ABC Thinks This is News" »
Click here to take a 20 minute survey on avatars and gender being conducted by Jon-Paul Cacioli, a Lecturer of Psychology at Charles Darwin University in Australia, along with research assistant Amalia Badawi, who plan to share the results from their research with New World Notes and the public at large. Ms. Badawi has this to say on the importance of the project:
"Many people are using avatars more and more, such as in Second Life which, unlike MMORPGs, there is more freedom in choosing who your avatar is and what it represents, whether it is you, and ideal or some character you have always wanted to role play. This study will explore whether your personality factors may influence why you may choose to be (or not to be!) and avatar of the opposite gender. Maybe it is because you are open to trying new experiences, or maybe it is because you identify more with the stereotyped gender roles that are still lingering in our society...
Continue reading "Take a Survey on Avatar Gender for Academic Researchers" »
In this fascinating excerpt from Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: A Handbook of Method by Tom Boellstorff, Bonnie Nardi, Celia Pearce & T. L. Taylor from Princeton Press (a sponsoring partner to this blog) the authors explain the importance of virtual artifacts in the virtual worlds they study as academics -- among them, Uru Live, Second Life, World of Warcraft and Dreamscape.
When ethnographers conduct research in the physical world, artifacts play an important role in understanding culture (Appadurai 1988; Spyer 1997; Hoskins 1998; Miller 2005). The artifacts of a community—how they circulate, are incorporated into everyday life, and are given meaning—help illuminate culturally specific meanings and practices. When we speak of “virtual worlds,” the term “world” is not just a metaphor. One way in which virtual worlds resemble physical world fieldsites more than other online contexts (like blogs or social networking websites) is that they have place and space, embodiment, and objects.
Continue reading "The Importance of Virtual Artifacts in Virtual Societies (Excerpt from Ethnography and Virtual Worlds)" »
Ethnography and Virtual Worlds:
A Handbook of Method is a new book from Princeton Press by my friend and acclaimed anthropologist Tom Boellstorff (who also wrote the acclaimed Coming of Age in Second Life), along with three other experts in the academic study of online games/worlds: Bonnie Nardi, Celia Pearce, and T. L. Taylor. I'm proud to announce, thanks to a media partnership between Princeton and this blog, readers can get a 20% discount on the book:
Click here to order Ethnography and Virtual Worlds, and then enter the discount code P05169 at checkout.
More news and info about the book and its authors coming soon. If you have read it, be sure to discuss in Comments.
Continue reading "Get a 20% NWN Discount on Ethnography and Virtual Worlds by Tom Boellstorff et. al!" »
My colleague Robert Geraci, a Professor at Manhattan College who regularly researches and writes on Second Life and other virtual worlds and games (including for this book published by Oxford), is studying real life gender in relation to avatar gender, and is looking for volunteers to take an anonymous, 5 minute test:
I just took the male version of the survey, and found the questions pretty interesting. But let Professor Geraci, who's conducting the study with his wife Dr. Jovi Geraci (who also teaches at Manhattan), explain the overall goals of this project:
Continue reading "Virtual World User or Gamer? Please Take This 5 Minute Survey for an Academic Study on Male & Female Avatars" »
Virtual world academic makes good: My pal Tom Boellstorff, Professor of Anthropology at UC Irvine and author of the acclaimed Coming of Age in Second Life, recently left his position as editor of American Anthropologist to join the faculty of the new Intel Science and Technology Center for Social Computing. As you might imagine, virtual worlds will probably play a part of his research there:
"The Center will help support work on the social dimensions of virtual worlds that I hope will be interesting not just to academics, but designers and participants of every stripe," as he puts it to me. "What people do in existing virtual worlds is changing, mobile devices are having an increasing impact, and new virtual worlds are coming into being all the time. What’s all this mean for the human journey: for politics, identity, social justice?"
He's going to start answering those questions at the Center, which he describes as "a collaborative space of possibility":
Continue reading "Coming of Age in Second Life Author Tom Boellstorff Joins Intel Science and Technology Center" »