Will all social media have avatars in the future?

I’m not sold – but Vincent Sider certainly got my attention with this slideshow (which has, btw, been resting in my browser for so long I can’t remember where I found it! Sorry!).

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Social Networks in Virtual Worlds

Here’s a video of one of Aleks Krotoski‘s presentation entitled “Social Networks in Virtual Worlds” – it was a refreshing find. Aleks doesn’t focus too much on the ‘OMG!’ factor and is very straight to the point about her research. She’s also willing to share her methods of research which I found extremely interesting and helpful. This should be useful to some people out there! ;) The more I think about my own thesis the more I wish I had spent more time on methodology techniques, so methodology has started to interest me. I feel like my thesis discusses more what we’re talking about and why and chapter 2 should be something like “Ok, now we know ‘what’ now let’s concentrate on how to really research the ‘what’!”.

It’s a great find – but I’m writing this already late for an appointment so I haven’t done enough digging from where and why this presentation was held. All I know is that it’s from an event called “Massively Multi-Learner” at The University of Paisley.

Virtual World Politics News

Where to start?
How about the “u gotta be kidding me!” news:
The US Congress has announced that it will be issuing a potential taxation of virtual goods report in August. I’m a bit perplexed about this. Firstly – how are they going to define what is virtual? And second of all, I don’t think we’re anywhere near ready to discuss this issue ‘officially’. I’m a bit worried that they’re going to ruin the creative gaming freedom that these virtual worlds offer by bringing up such invasive things as taxes. And when there’s just a handful of gamers this could apply to – is it really worth it? I’m all for that academics, gamers and designers discuss it, because it is important that we think about these things and have ready proposals and not in the least definitions before such matters do become official – but not the US Congress! Maybe I’m just skeptical because I’m European. I’m just not as thrilled as everyone else seems to be. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the ‘real’ value of virtual goods – I really do! And I abhore all the journalists writing headlines about virtual goods being fake – yet worth real money. I just think that the ‘realness’ of such things has to come about another way than through a governmental force like the US Congress. But I’m getting ahead of myself here, they do say ‘potential’.

Second Life

So I’ve been cruising through Second Life this evening – starting to get my grips – but my lag is just awful! I still haven’t actually invested in any Linden dollars, but I suppose it’s just around the corner.

I’ve just stopped by the Social Simulation Research Lab and found bunches of interesting reads! I’ll have to print out some stuff so I can enjoy the summer as well – I want a sun friendly laptop sooo bad! Life would just be near perfect then!

But for now I’m happy to have found SLED Picayune that has taken the trouble to gather several tutorial videos. Time for me to stop being a tourist and really start getting involved with this world that I have such high hopes for – so tutorials are a blessing!

I was really impressed with DnB Nor’s island (Slurl). A few weird things – but that’s half the fun! The Second Life Newspaper – Finance, has a good description of their tour.

Singapore

Firstly – CNN launched it’s Future Summit: Virtual worlds today.

“Originating from Singapore and Palo Alto, California, the program features creative visionaries and entrepreneurs leading us into a new age of creativity and imagination.”

Impressive list of panelists really. I don’t even know who to list here – but it’s a good mix of social networking sites experts and designers and MMORPG experts and designers. I’m really going to enjoy following this!

So speaking of Singapore – I just got my ticket for 16 August. My apartment’s getting renovated 20 August by my landlords and my adorable father thought it would be a good idea for me to visit him instead of crashing on a friend’s floor. Not a hell of a lot of protest from me! It will be good to get away and have a vacation – there’s so much I didn’t get to do last time around. Besides, I miss him – chillin’ out with dad is always delightful.

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WoW machinima’ish news

I’m sure this is no news to all the WoW’ers out there – but I found this “Gnomeregan Gnews Gnetwork” – looks like it’s been around for a while and as far as I can gather it’s actually made by Blizzard. I gotta say I’m impressed. News from Azeroth machinima broadcasting style. I found the humor a bit stressful – but that may be because I’m not a WoW’er.

"Synthetic Worlds and Public Policy"

Ludium II at Indiana University will focus on what ‘synthetic worlds and public policy’ this year.Great!

I hope that a good and healthy array of people will be present. I, for example, would like to see some public policy enforcers present – see what they have to say on the subject. These are difficult questions – and the more diversity discussing them – the more I think they can come up with an adequate proposal. I cannot stress enough how dangerous it is to bring ‘actual’ laws into gaming worlds – and yet I do believe avatars have rights too. But should it be controlled by consumer laws?
I think it is in the best interests of the synthetic world makers to have adequate laws and procedures – but there are limits to the responsibilities that can be enforced on them. I also think that in such debates you cannot dismiss the dilemma of defining what is a gaming world and what is a virtual (synthetic) world.Either way, it looks like Castronova and his bunch have created a great Ludium in the best possible form this year again!

Ludium II will bring together experts on virtual worlds from academia, industry, and government to play a live-action political game leading to an extremely serious, timely, and important contribution: a consensus Platform of 10 Statements answering the question “What policies should real world governments have with regards to synthetic worlds?” The hope is that this Platform will provide answers when legislatures and administrators wonder what to do in response to the critical public issues that will be raised by these unique social technologies.

Good luck!!!

Bogost finds the words

Just stopping by to share this amazing quote by Bogost in Gamasutra’s ‘Are Games Art? “Here we go again.”

“Film can be used for deeply charged emotional expression, or it can be used to show you how to use the oxygen mask in case of cabin depressurization. If video games are indeed a medium, then they too will speak on different registers. “If you look at the world of ‘serious games,’ a lot of those titles are much closer to the airline safety video than to ‘Citizen Kane,'”Bogost adds. “And like film or TV or painting, there will be different modes of video game craft. There will be pop-art games and self-referential postmodern games and exploitative games and games made solely to cash in on intellectual property like Sponge Bob.”

Naw – I haven’t actually read it – but found the quote at Water Cooler Games and I’ve been thinking about it all day! So much so that I’m getting very distracted from work. But I suppose I knew that would happen eventually!

What is machinima?

If you pay attention to my del.icio.us, you’ll know that I’m hung up on machinima lately. I don’t really want to get into the details of why right now – but thought I’d share this little gem by mrfleef.
It’s an attempt to explain what machinima is, specifically using Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as a backdrop. Every once in a while a figure comes up screaming political comments about how games are bad for, I’m not sure, is that supposed to be Hillary Clinton?