In this chapter, I will review current approaches to online sociability and present and exemplify a psychological theory, the Social Reality theory, of online sociability. By analyzing sociability in a virtual world based university course, I will present and analyze examples on how to understand the students’ design of the conditions for sociability as communication about cultural symbols, such as avatars and virtual landscapes, and the social reality of perceived groups of people. The analysis results will be used to illustrate different kinds of online sociability: superficial, convivial, and negative sociability. The chapter suggests solutions and recommendations to designers and researchers with a focus on online communities and networked communication.
Introduction: This chapter deals with the design of sociability for human encounters in online environments. By analyzing sociability in a virtual world based university course, I will provide a psychological perspective on users’ design and practice of online sociability. I will present and analyze examples on how the students’ design of bodily aspects of the
virtual world, e.g. the students’ choice between the limited and to the purpose insufficient number of different avatars, contributes to shape the roles and rules of their social interaction. In the context of basic, everyday classroom activities, students’ virtual world social interaction and communication take unexpected and interesting forms.
Author: Torkil Clemmensen
Source: Copenhagen Business School
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