As Bloomfield states in his article, “By allowing participants to take on natural roles in business settings, virtual worlds can help students understand factory floors and trading floors; supply chains for potato chips and computer chips, marketing strategy, and (my own particular interest) how financial reporting regulations affect capital flows and financial markets” (p 3). In other words, virtual worlds can be used not only for gaming and leisurely use, but can be helpful in low-cost training of new employees. In this article, Bloomfield experiments with WoW and SL to see how effective professional networking through these “games” could be. Bloomfield was startled by his first interactions with players on SL and was surprised by many of the avatars promiscuity. He eventually was able to make friends and ended up on an island where he could interact with like-minded business people. He found that context had everything to do with the nature of interactions in SL including location and gender of your avatar. It is also quite apparent to other Second Life users when a “noob” is present, which can also interfere with an interaction. Compared to WoW, SL is kind of a free-for-all where there is no real object to the “game.”
After reading Portwood-Stacer’s 3-part article, I came to realize that I am somewhat of a media refuser. To sum it up, I hate television and I hate Facebook.
The reasoning behind deleting my Facebook was because I was getting turned off by how invasive it was becoming. Suddenly, the advertisements were getting specific to my personal interests that had nothing to do with my Facebook activity. I deleted my Facebook over a year ago with no urge to reactivate it. In a year’s time, Facebook has changed drastically, and not surprisingly, it has become even more invasive. Facebook’s algorithm now takes into account who’s posts you interact with more and starts to filter out the people that you don’t interact with as much from your newsfeed. Recently, I was looking at an item on Brookstone’s website on my friend’s computer. A few days later, I was on that same friend’s computer and logged onto her Facebook. An advertisement for the item that I was looking at a few days earlier had made it’s way into her newsfeed. Brookstone and Facebook are in no way associated with one another, so how did Facebook know I was interested in this item, and how did Brookstone know that this specific person was looking at the item? Creepy.
My decision to refrain from viewing this media has less to do with addiction and more to do with asceticism. I felt as though if I spent less time on Facebook and viewing TV I would have more time to do more productive things like interacting with people face to face and completing homework with less distractions, which has proved to be true.
In Taylor’s article, he talks about interacting with the people that he spent time with anonymously online in EverQuest. His experience attending offline meetings had a similar beginning to that of an online context. He wrote about wandering around confused for a couple of hours before the commencement of the meeting. He had an encounter with one man who played in the same server as him but it quickly ended when the man wandered off to find his friends. This is similar to the first time entering into a virtual world because you are surrounded by strangers (or avatars) and are not really sure what you should be doing. Taylor also wrote about how a man who gave out flowers in the inworld was passing them out at the meeting. This goes to show how the inworld affects behaviors in the real world. When Taylor returned to the virtual world of EverQuest after meeting people within his server, he was able to have a more personal connection with the other players which opened up new opportunities within the game.