Monday, October 26, 2009

Avatar Communication Within and Beyond Virtual Worlds

Last week, an intended post on the SLebrity phenomenon took us on a week-long detour exploring Second Life Subcultures and Communities of Interest (COIs). I tried to get back on topic over the weekend but got side-tracked again, this time on how  information flows within and between avatar communities:

Spread of SLebrity

  • In-World Communication including local chat, instant messaging, group announcements, public exhibitions, etc. Although these are obviously significant channels for the distribution of memes (including SLebrity status) within SL Subcultures and COIs, my guess is that extra-world vehicles have at least as much impact.
  • Blogs. ArminasX Saiman compiled a list of over 500 Second Life-related blogs. Zoe Connolly's Second Life Bloggers Group on Ning has over 1200 members. My blog alone had more than 10,000 unique visitors over the past year. I think it's very likely that blogs have a significant impact on the way many people view issues related to Second Life.
  • Social Networks. I made the jump from Second Life to social networks very early in my life as an avatar. There are large and active avatar social circles in Plurk, Facebook and Twitter, plus a number of avatar-centric networks such as Avatars United and Myrl. Since many people access Social Networks from their work computers and phones, they may comprise the most pervasive channel of communication for many avatar identities.
  • Social Sharing.  Photo-Sharing site Flickr has over 3000 groups related to Second Life. A YouTube search for "Second Life" returned more than 46,000 results. Avatars have their own social sharing site, Koinup, that hosts both images and video.
  • Mainstream Media. Although sporadic and often sensational, mainstream media coverage of virtual worlds shouldn't be overlooked. It was the primary medium that catapulted a handful of individuals, such as Anshe Chung and Philip (Rosedale) Linden, from SLebrity to celebrity. 
  • Electronic Word of Mouth. This is a category I used to consolidate one-to-one non-Virtual World communication such as instant messaging, email and Skype.
Like the MindMap, this list can be sliced and diced in various ways. But as a member in good standing of the Cult of Done, that's all for now.


Unknown said...

Very pretty diagram. Love the colors BG.

You didn't mention Twitter, Facebook and Plurk. Most of the avatars I know are on at least one if not all three. :-)

- Chimera

Botgirl Questi said...

They're under the "Social Networks" section and were called out in the text of the post. :)