“ With the fading of hype surrounding virtual reality 10 years ago, we are now in a perfect position to analyse the deep correlation between embodiment and virtuality and also to take stock of how much the virtual has been absorbed into everyday life.” (Hasen, 2006: x)
“The web is not an object...”
Utopian and Dystopian Myths of Technology
Myths are stories that animate individuals and societies by providing paths to transcendence that lift people out of the banality of everyday life. They offer entrance to another to another reality, a reality once characterised by the promise of the sublime. (Mosco, 2006: 3)
Utopian, Dystopian and Normality Scaremongers Evangelists looking at the bigger picture Whilst not losing track of social dynamics
Second Life: A Literal Virtual World
Myth in the making : An approach where the virtual can only be seen as a fully-immersive self-contained fantasy world.
Visual, Outsider Perspective: Don’t need to participate (or even enter it) to observe and comment.
Digital Avatar: Can see it, can generalise it, can talk about it as a “removable” object...
Mixed Reality Paradigm
“ ...rather than conceiving the virtual as a total technical simulacrum and as the opening of a fully immersive, self-contained fantasy world , the mixed reality paradigm treats it as simply one more realm among others that can be accessed through embodied perception or enaction. In this way, emphasis falls less on what is perceived in the world than on how it comes to be perceived in the first place .” (Hasen, 2006: 5)
The Self-Defined User
“ We ask not just about where we stand in nature, but about where we stand in the world of artifact. We search for a link between who we are and what we have made , between who we are and what we might create, between who we are and what, through our intimacy with our creations, we might become .” (Turkle, 1984: 2)
The Digital Avatar
“ We marvel at the sights and sounds brought into our homes and places of work and about the Internet’s non-spatial features. We think more about its ability to “take us places” and less about its insertion into the mundane practices of our everyday life.” (Jones, 1997: 12)
What are we seeing:
No obvious “avatar” - a mix of text, images, video, audio ( content ) and conversation.
Fluidity between online and offline relationships.
Personalised Networks: we are opting in to look at different screens and streams.
Social Media Abuse
Much of the dynamics worth valuing are not going to be reflected in a bird eye view of the system.
Social Media Use: Stop talking, Start doing! Stop talking, Start doing!
“ Social Media, as a platform will only start being useful when we stop talking about it and start using it...”
Embedded Participant Observation
Using the online tools : twitter, google docs, blog + more
Connecting and relationship building: online and offline
Reflection: blogging, conversations
Self-defined user sample: opt-in
Attempting to read theory from practice
learning through practice, being rather than doing
Attempting to make sense of the “mess” - the non-literal virtual space
Similarities in critiques and enthusiasms that we see with any cycle of technological adoption
Life changes when the myths displace
Moving targets and social spaces
Call for innovative methods and embedded involvement
Dynamics from within - not from a birds-eye bystander
Understanding the social narrative, not making assumptions as a by stander.