Apr 072009
 

Boy, am I neglecting blogging lately. Even my Twitter has gone mostly silent.

There have been several stories that caught my eye. For example, this one about musicians making decent gig money in Second Life was interesting, in part because some of what a virtual environment provides is an easier way to do marketing. As I have said before, I think the future of a lot of the arts is around personal relationships with their fans because of the way the landscape is shifting around information and money, and there’s something about virtual worlds that helps build fandoms.

Speaking of personal relationships, while at the IGF and GDC awards, I was struck by the clear signs of “celebrity” that some of the event had. Some of this was due, no doubt, to the fact that Tim Schafer’s performance as emcee was funnier and more entertaining than that of the emcees for any televised awards show. Some of it, though, was the evident fact that the creators of indie games are getting known as names, in large part because they produce quirky and individualistic games at a rapid rate. Which brings me to mention The Croopier, just because it’s a neat project.

Which reminds me that there’s a new documentary premiering on journalism in virtual worlds — talk about a profession that is in upheaval thanks to changes in business models and the value of information! I’m halfway through a galley copy of Cory Doctorow’s upcoming novel, in which a journalist figures pretty prominently… and struck by how prescient Bruce Sterling was when he said “information wants to be worthless.”

Which leads me to idly speculate… if anything that can be digitized will be, and anything that is digitized becomes worthless, then what will eventually remain both undigitizable and therefore monetizable?

MiscDunbar’s Number matters online too

 Posted by (Visited 4959 times)  Misc  Tagged with: , ,
Feb 272009
 

Of course, this is completely unsurprising to me, since we demonstrated it via datamining of MMORPG metrics five years ago. There’s some interesting stuff here about “core” or tight-cluster friends versus the extended network, however.

The rise of online social networks, with their troves of data, might shed some light on these matters. So The Economist asked Cameron Marlow, the “in-house sociologist” at Facebook, to crunch some numbers. Dr Marlow found that the average number of “friends” in a Facebook network is 120, consistent with Dr Dunbar’s hypothesis, and that women tend to have somewhat more than men. But the range is large, and some people have networks numbering more than 500, so the hypothesis cannot yet be regarded as proven.

What also struck Dr Marlow, however, was that the number of people on an individual’s friend list with whom he (or she) frequently interacts is remarkably small and stable. The more “active” or intimate the interaction, the smaller and more stable the group.

– The size of social networks | Primates on Facebook | The Economist.

As someone with a larger-than-normal extended network and a smaller-than-normal core network, I kind of live with this every day as I use social media. There’s a lot of talk about the issue of “unbalanced” followers/following number on Twitter, for example, or about whether social media are used as marketing tools by some folks. In my case, the answer is undoubtedly “yes,” though perhaps my style of personal marketing is fairly informal. At the same time, as I have commented to folks at the office, the first anonymous brown-paper-wrapped package you get at your home address, first death threat, first random fan phone call at dinner, completely changes your perspective on social media…

Game talkTwitter, status, and /tell

 Posted by (Visited 6821 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , , , ,
Feb 072009
 

Hasn’t It Always Been About Status? is a little article tracing the status update mania (such as Twitter) to AIM status messages.

I have now spent two days with Twitter, and I have decided that it is basically guild chat in Internet-the-MMO. It’s a form of /grouptell, and we’re all out slaying bookmarks instead of orcs.

Continue reading »

Game talkThe borders of user created content

 Posted by (Visited 6613 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , , , ,
Jan 072009
 

SusanC has a comment on a Terra Nova thread in which she observes,

So the main criterion for being considered is that there is some kind of creative expression involved. I’m OK with that, although it opens the door for arguments about exactly how much creative input is needed to qualify. Text chat, instant messages, and blog postings (like this one) clearly can be used for creative expression: so maybe these are within the paper’s scope, provided that they are sufficiently creative.

– comment on Terra Nova: New Paper on UGC.

It is an interesting problem, actually. There is hardly a site these days of any sort on the Net that does not support some form of user-generated content. But by unspoken convention, we seem to not consider chat and other basic synchronous social interaction to be the same sort of user created content that uploaded models and textures are.

I think the reason is interesting and subtle, and marks out a distinction between “extending the possibility space” and, well, “not.” So here go 1700 words… Continue reading »