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*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****

Hello,

Ron Burt has done some work in Second Life. Here is a link to a paper he has
written on this:

"Structural Holes in Virtual Worlds,"  ( SHVW.pdf
<http://faculty.chicagogsb.edu/ronald.burt/research/SHVW.pdf> )
     This paper is about the validity of virtual worlds as a place to study
the effects of social networks and instruct people in the ways networks
operate.  The potential is enormous.  Virtual worlds offer good-quality,
time-stamped, micro-level data on social networks in large, heterogeneous
populations.  Models can be formulated and tested with a precision
impossible to match with standard sociometric survey methods.  More, social
skills can be learned in virtual worlds that can require years of experience
in the real world, and remain in many people undeveloped.  However, there is
a preliminary question that has to be answered: Are virtual worlds a new
context for familiar social processes, or merely an odd context in which
social processes play out in ways that do not generalize to the real world?
The conclusion reached in this paper is that two foundational network
effects play out in a familiar way in at least one of the large virtual
worlds.  The virtual world is Second Life.  The two effects are achievement
increasing with network brokerage, and trust increasing with network
closure.  As expected from previous theory and research in the real world,
relations embedded in closed networks within Second Life are more likely to
be close, trusting relationships.  As expected from previous theory and
research in the real world, network brokers in Second Life are more likely
to be the leaders who provide social infrastructure that makes the virtual
world valuable and attractive.  Brokers are more likely to found groups,
invitation-only groups and groups open to the public.  The groups they found
are more likely to survive and attract more people as members.  These
results, consistent with network effects in the real world, are initial
evidence that it would be reasonable to use the rich network data available
in virtual worlds to better understand networks in the real world.

I am also conducting research in second life and other virtual worlds. Here
is our project blog: www.nordicworlds.net. Your research assistant is
welcome to contact me directly at [log in to unmask]

Best regards,
Robin

---------
Robin Teigland, PhD
Stockholm School of Economics
Stockholm, Sweden
www.knowledgenetworking.org


Check out NVWN - Nordic Worlds Virtual Network!  An international,
inter-disciplinary project co-funded by NICe investigating entrepreneurship
and innovation through virtual worlds and the 3D internet:
www.nordicworlds.net.


On 14/2/11 18:19 PM, "Brooke Foucault" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  ***** Hi all, 
> 
> Hope those of you who were at Sunbelt have made it safely back home. I am
> helping an undergraduate research assistant (Nick Merrill) in the SONIC lab at
> Northwestern with his first research paper. He's interested in how network
> structure, specifically an individual's position in the network, influences
> one's likelihood of contributing resources to one's group in the virtual world
> Second Life. Second Life has an economy that is tied to the real-world
> economy, so making a donation to a group in Second Life constitutes
> contributing real resources (money) to that group. 
> This is not an area I'm super familiar with, so I'm hoping you can suggest
> either specific measures we should look at, or prior work that deals with
> network structure and group donations/contributions. So far, we've analyzed
> degree centrality (as a measure of social status) and overall wealth in the
> game (on the assumption that more wealth makes it more likely that you'll
> donate wealth). Obviously, we could also include other measures of centrality
> as proxies for social status and/or power, but we'd like to move beyond that,
> too. 
> 
> Does anyone know of literature that discusses these measures (and/or other
> measures!) in relation to group resource commitment? Ideally, a paper that
> focuses on these measures in a real-world context would give us a coherent
> framework for approaching the problem in Second Life. 
> 
> Any and all related literature would be greatly appreciated. Please feel free
> to email me, or you can email Nick directly at: [log in to unmask]
> 
> Thanks for your help!
> Best, 
> Brooke 

 



On 14/2/11 18:19 PM, "Brooke Foucault" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  ***** Hi all, 
> 
> Hope those of you who were at Sunbelt have made it safely back home. I am
> helping an undergraduate research assistant (Nick Merrill) in the SONIC lab at
> Northwestern with his first research paper. He's interested in how network
> structure, specifically an individual's position in the network, influences
> one's likelihood of contributing resources to one's group in the virtual world
> Second Life. Second Life has an economy that is tied to the real-world
> economy, so making a donation to a group in Second Life constitutes
> contributing real resources (money) to that group. 
> This is not an area I'm super familiar with, so I'm hoping you can suggest
> either specific measures we should look at, or prior work that deals with
> network structure and group donations/contributions. So far, we've analyzed
> degree centrality (as a measure of social status) and overall wealth in the
> game (on the assumption that more wealth makes it more likely that you'll
> donate wealth). Obviously, we could also include other measures of centrality
> as proxies for social status and/or power, but we'd like to move beyond that,
> too. 
> 
> Does anyone know of literature that discusses these measures (and/or other
> measures!) in relation to group resource commitment? Ideally, a paper that
> focuses on these measures in a real-world context would give us a coherent
> framework for approaching the problem in Second Life. 
> 
> Any and all related literature would be greatly appreciated. Please feel free
> to email me, or you can email Nick directly at: [log in to unmask]
> 
> Thanks for your help!
> Best, 
> Brooke 


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