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The Interaction Order of Second Life


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This presentation was given at The Australian Sociological Associations conference in December 09. …

This presentation was given at The Australian Sociological Associations conference in December 09.

It investigates how micro sociology can be a tool for online game innovation.

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  • 1. The Interaction Order of Second Life Eryn Grant, Queensland University of Technology Referred paper presentation at the Australian Sociological Association Annual conference, Canberra Dec 1-4, 2009.
  • 2. Purpose of the Study
    • The purpose of the study is to illustrate the interaction order of Second Life:
      • as a local ‘production’ order
      • as situated in the mundane routines of everyday “digital” life
      • as an activity system
    To do so the presentation will concentrate specifically on the approach and methodology.
  • 3. What is Second Life ?
    • 3D Virtual World, it is not a game, the aim is to engage and interact with others
    • It’s a geographic space.
    • Australia has its own island
    • CNN has a resident reporter
    • … and there is a university
  • 4. What is Second Life?
    • Participants are represented by avatars, which are virtual representations of the self. They can change the way they look at anytime.
    • They can walk, run, fly and teleport around Second Life
  • 5. What is Second Life ?
    • Runs its own economy (Linden Dollar.)
    • The Linden Dollars can be purchased from the developer
    • Digital goods (cars, clothes, art works etc.) are made, bought and sold by residents of Second Life. Land owners can build or buy houses to entertain their friends.
  • 6. Approach and Methodology
    • The Production Order (Rawls 1989)
    • P
    • This presents a methodology that systematically positions the participant in social space and further illustrates the organisation of such participation through turn by turn analysis of members accounts’, which act as evidence of locally produced order.
    Production Order of Participation Social activity Context of action Systematics of talk
  • 7. The problem of interaction in Second Life? The conversations in Second Life were extremely difficult to follow. They did not conform to any “normal” rules. They were not simple conversational patterns.
  • 8. Data Selection, Collection and Analysis
    • Theoretical Sampling approach ( What are the ideal types of interaction in Second Life?)
    • No system to explain the ‘jumble’ of communication occurring in Second Life.
    A quick look at Second Life from the avatar view helps understand why
  • 9. So you get conversations that look like this….. Its all a bit messy and hard to follow, unless you’re actually there. Then its pretty easy. So how do the participants manage to make sense of these interactions?
  • 10. User Activity System
    • A user activity system allows interaction in digital space to be seen as a collaborative response using social, spatial, temporal and technical dimensions.
    • It isn’t just about talking but the way participants use the four aspects above to understand interactions as meaningful.
  • 11. Investigating the four dimensions
  • 12. Social Dimension
    • Analysis of conversations between participants
    • Seeks to define how participants gain membership to the social world of Second Life using specific types of interaction?
    • Systematic analysis of conversational sequence to demonstrate social order in action.
    • Accounts for the interactional diversity between the real and digital world
    Player Player
  • 13. Spatial Dimension
    • Provides the “setting” and spatial cues about the type of situation they are attending.
    • Often includes props which participants use to understand how they ought to engage.
    • Looks at how the digital environment may be “set up” with cues that help participants navigate their behaviour.
    • How participants may overcome the limitations of digital space in communicating cues
    Player Digital space
  • 14. Example of the Spatial Dimension Bystanders Groups
  • 15. Temporal Dimension
    • Slims Table (1992) interception of people based on cultural context of collective life i.e. dinner time. We can expect that groups of people will log in and out at similar time because of the similar structure of routine and time zones.
    • Participants of Second Life construct ways in which collective life can be realized through events
    • Frequencies of participation with others to maintain membership in social world and stay “up to date”
    Player Time sequence
  • 16. Technical Dimension
    • How do devices collaborate with pre-existing interaction principles?
    • This is the connection between real and digital knowledge of social interaction (could be called etiquette).
    Player ICT
  • 17. Conclusions
    • The interaction order perspective along with the support of ethnomethodology and conversation analysis demonstrates how members produce order through activity, context and talk.
    • To transfer this to digital settings we need to see interaction as an activity system made up of four components
    • Understanding how these components operate as a system is important for the design of online games to elucidate the interactional activity of the game and contribute to its success.
  • 18. The End
    • Eryn Grant, Queensland University of Technology
    • Contact: [email_address]