When we were filming for Programme 4 of Virtual Revolution, director Molly Milton and I went through the approximately 5,000 followers I have on Twitter to test (admittedly, only with a sample of me) Professor Robin Dunbar‘s oft-cited Dunbar Number theory. Dunbar proposed that the ’ideal’ number of people in a human community is just under 150. This, he has argued, is the maximum number of people with whom individuals can maintain functional and stable social relationships. The theory is based upon his work with primates, extrapolating the specific number from the size of the animals’ neocortices to ours. More information on this theory is here.
Friday February 19, 2010 @ 09:25 AM (UTC)
Wednesday February 17, 2010 @ 11:45 AM (UTC)
I am editing a special issue of the International Journal of Internet Research Ethics on the practices, methodologies and documented experiences of using online communities as places for field research.
[INSNA] Predicting adoption behaviour in an online community: interactions between network and psychological attributesWednesday February 10, 2010 @ 09:06 AM (UTC)
I’ll be giving a paper at the International Network for Social Network Analysts’ annual Sunbelt conference in Trento, Italy this April. Here’re the details:
[Academic] Dissertation - Social Influence in Second Life: Social Network and Social Psychological Processes in the Diffusion of Belief and Behaviour on the WebTuesday January 26, 2010 @ 12:47 PM (UTC)
As promised, here is the full text of my PhD thesis.
Krotoski, Aleksandra K. (2009). Social influence in Second Life: Social Network and Social Psychological Processes in the Diffusion of Belief and Behaviour on the Web. PhD Dissertation. University of Surrey, Department of Psychology, School of Human Sciences. [pdf]
Monday January 25, 2010 @ 09:42 AM (UTC)
In the early 2000s, colleagues told me about the real-life friendships they’d developed in online games. They told me about the openness and honesty that greeted them when they logged into Everquest and Asheron’s Call, the emotional power of achieving long-term goals with people thousands of miles away, and the bizarre group ‘dinner’ parties they described, separate but together, behind their home computer screens. I dismissed their stories; these were places populated by orcs and warlocks, I reasoned. Impossible fantasies of people who needed to meet more real people. But around that time I also read an article by economist Edward Castronova who had used the economic barter and trade systems in Everquest to assess the GDP of its fictional world. Taking the average amount of time players spent ‘levelling up’, or advancing through new areas of the story by engaging in repetitive tasks, and the amount which items and extremely virtually valuable character accounts were sold for on eBay’s Category 1654 (Computer Games), Castronova placed its Gross Domestic Product between Bulgaria’s and Russia’s. His paper, On Virtual Economies, and his subsequent analysis of the relative and socially-determined monetary ‘value’ of male and female avatars in massively multiplayer online games (women sell for $47 less, based only on gender assignment), inspired a flood of scientists into online spaces like EverQuest searching for similar clues to offline social processes, including me.
Monday January 11, 2010 @ 07:11 PM (UTC)
Academics are divided about the use of the web for (re-)publishing findings and articles they’ve authored in peer-reviewed journals on their own websites. Some are open and free about it, distributing their raw and analysed results online pre- and post- publication, while others are concerned with information ownership issues and fear that their work will be mis-represented or devalued if released online. May 2008’s Scientific American has an excellent summary of the issues.
Wednesday January 06, 2010 @ 05:06 PM (UTC)
The issue of ethical human subjects research in online communities has been a particular interest of mine since I started my academic career. I’ve written book chapters on it, presented papers at various public and academic events on it, and sat on BPS committees supporting it. And now, I’m doing some pre-emptive research for some writing and editing I’ll be doing on the subject in 2010.
Thursday December 03, 2009 @ 11:42 AM (UTC)
Saturday November 21, 2009 @ 05:24 PM (UTC)
I’ve been answering difficult questions about my PhD thesis all day to prepare for my viva on Monday. I thought I’d post a few of them up here because they offer a handy FAQ and, I think, dispel of a few myths about what my research was about:
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