Archive for the ‘Breakthrough moments’ Category

So, my relationship with my avatar, Testy Outlander, has reached a whole new level. I realized this last week when I was in-world last week and my cell rang. It was an old friend, but before I picked up the call……I made sure that I/Testy was seated in a relaxed, comfortable, out-of-the-way place.


What? I have a real-life friend on the line, who goes back 10 years & I haven’t spoken with for a matter of months. Yet, I felt so connected in a very experiential way to Testy that I first thought of attending to ‘her’ (or my?) comfort before I attended to my RL call. And let’s remember that Testy is a combination of bits and bytes….which makes me wonder what exactly is this virtual sense of ‘comfort’ that I felt so strongly about affording her/I.

Also, let’s analyze how I just described this:

I made sure that I/Testy was seated in a relaxed, comfortable, out-of-the-way place.

Notice that I did not say “I manipulated an online character to be seated by clicking on my computer keyboard.” No, I talk about it as a socially proper thing to do: getting Testy/myself seated and relaxed. This way, I was fully ‘ready’ to engage with my RL friend.

What’s happening to me? (more…)

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My blog posts have been all-Hine-all-the-time this week, but I can’t help it. She inspires me!

Back to the spaces and places debate. Hine points out, rightly by how I see things, that  “We can usefully think of the ethnography of mediated interaction as mobile rather than multi-sited” (p 64) and:

By focusing on sites, locales and places, we may be missing out on other ways of understanding culture, based on connection, difference, heterogeneity and incoherence. We miss out on the opportunity to conisider the role of space in structuring social relations (Thrift, 1996a). Castells (1996a; 1996b; 1997) introduces the idea that a new form of space of flows, which in contrast to the space of place, information, money, circulate between nodes which form a network of associations increasingly independent of specific local contexts. ” (p 61)

This really got my brain ticking. Lorcan Dempsey and the need to get in the user’s flow immediately jumped to mind. I want to know what the flow of information seeking is like in Second Life, not just particular, isolative behaviors. A socially bounded, place-space framework may very well cut off the ability to see any parts of the flow of the users, much less experience a taste of it myself. The cyberpunk novel Snowcrash then jumped to my mind, with the notion of a non-place that is, at the same time, is all around us. Stephenson’s concept of metaverse is what suppossedly inspired SL in the first place. And getting away from the specifics of information seeking or librarianship, these ideas are bound to broader concepts of globalization.

I do believe that I am embarking on what Hine calls a “connective ethnography” (p 62).

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My Literature review is now complete, including an overview of four major factors I believe will heavily influence information seeking behaviors within Second Life:

  • Sociability: SL is social, it’s a virtual world where people love to connect
  • Active learning: experience is how people figure out new things in SL
  • User contributed content: SL residents are the architects of their self-created digital landscape
  • Challenges to authority: In a land where content can be created by everyone, the notion of a single source of authority may not be well received

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Information seeking behavior theories + Online gaming theories + Library 2.0 = grounding framework for my research

I know this will evolve, but I just had to record this thought that came after many hours digging up sources for my literature review.

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