Exploring Second Life

Taking a break from playing, I took a look at my avatars dashboard/ homepage to explore more into Second Life and what else it has to offer. I found this very beneficial in educating me on things I did not know  that much about. On my avatars dashboard I found a world map, that had “Destination Guide Picks” that were much more interesting than the places I had been visiting. I also discovered the Second Life Marketplace where you can buy new outfits for your avatar, makeup, hair, etc. To buy these things though you have to pay US dollars which are then converted into Linden Dollars (L$), the Second Life currency. I find it strange that someone would spend real US dollars to use in a fictional world….

Lastly I found that your avatar can join groups and see what events are going on. I am going to utilize all this new information the next time I log in to explore more places, attend events and meet more people.


Support Groups

I thought it was time that I added a little something to the Wikipedia page on Support Groups. I found that Wikipedia did a good job covering many different aspects concerning support groups, so I found it difficult to add to the page. I did however notice that under the section header titled, “Types of Support Groups”, Loss of a pet was missing. Grief was listed however, after doing this project I found that there was a community out there on the web dealing with loss of a pet so I did feel that it was necessary for me to add a link to the loss of a pet support group. I was really surprised how easy it was for me to add to the Wikipedia page. I have heard many times about how Wikipedia is not a reliable source because of the easy access to changing information but I was still surprised. I don’t know why they would ever take this link down but I’m interested to see what happens. I’ll keep everyone posted!

PVT is not so PVT

When I presented to the class, I had noted that I was planning to dig a little deeper in to Chat Hour and take some risks.

One thing that I was afraid to do was the PVT or Private Chat.  I decided I should try it.  I thought about it, and I chose to tackle PVT in the Adult Chat.  I know that my age group is “tweens” but I thought this would be the best choice because usually I don’t face too much vulgar language and inappropriate behavior in the Adult Chat.  There is still an adequate amount of that stuff, just not as much as the horny tweens.  Being that this was my first time using PVT,  I didn’t want a 12 or 13 year old boy to scar me and discourage me from doing it again.

While I was was in the Adult Chat, I clicked on “bosseswife” who is age 53 from the USA.  I thought this would be safe for me.  Upon clicking it and sending her a message, I realized the PVT isn’t so private!

PVT simply means you single out a user within the chat, but everyone else can see your conversation.  We proceeded to have a brief conversation through PVT, her asking me where I’m from and making ridiculous remarks about my age, but the chat was still going on around us.  Eventually our conversation died out, and I changed chat rooms.

My experience with PVT was a lot different than I expected.  I was under the impression that a separate chat almost like an IM box would pop up, and you could have a private conversation with another user.   The way that PVT actually works is pretty pointless.  I could have just as easily singled her out in the chat room without using PVT by just saying “hey bosses wife, how are you?”

In the coming weeks I will try out other aspects of the site and see how tweens respond to and communicate with the different features of Chat Hour.

The next step in looking at advocacy online: Facebook creeping

So I thought it would a fun and informative to explore a little deeper the type of member that Amnesty International and Rock the Vote attract online. My methods are by no means scientific or truly representative, thought that would be ideal. Sadly, I just don’t have the means to look at all 32,633 members of the Amnesty International Facebook group or all 301,671 followers on Twitter. I did, however, look at around 30 profiles and a few twitter followers, though Twitter profiles aren’t nearly as informative to the demographics and interests of people. The rise of popularity in privacy controls on Facebook limited a lot of what I could see unfortunately. So who are AI members? Here’s what I found:

Age: There is a wide age range. The oldest person I came across was 68…not too old…but old for Facebook 🙂

Religious views: Everything from Christian to Agnostic to “mind your business”.

Political views: Again quite a variety here. A lot of people didn’t share this information with non-friends. But some interesting ones I found were “all are equal” and “socialist capitalist cynic”.

Interests: All over the place, but often included similar organizations or “activist-minded” activities like the outdoors, Green Peace, staying healthy, and “dancing to the beat of my own drum”.

From: Everywhere! Made me want to do some traveling. Here were some good ones:  India, Spain, Greece, Belgium, Germany, France, Japan, Ireland. Amnesty clearly has an international reach.

Rock the Vote also has a diverse group of members, but is more concentrated on what might come to mind when you visualize activists. That is, there seems to be a greater concentration of young, university students. The organization is aimed at motivating our generation to participate in politics so this makes sense. Also, given it is a national organization, the vast majority of members on the Facebook page are from the United States.

Domestic Abuse Intervention Services Facebook members were largely from Madison, WI and surrounding areas. There were a few people from neighboring states, like MN and IL, often having some association with Madison, like being a UW alumni. This makes since, as it is a local organization. Another non-surprising trend given the topic of interest is the larger concentration of female members. Males still have a strong presence though.

While lacking in scientific quality, my profiling of these groups members gave me a better idea of the diversity of people involved in the organzations, but also how their membership make-ups differ from each other based on their reach and message.


Tumblr Presentation Tomorrow: Practicum Post 4

Hi guys!!

So as you all know, tomorrow is my Practicum Presentation on microblogging, and specifically Tumblr. There are some things I will be talking about tomorrow besides the basics. Mostly, I want to focus on the ways Microblogging has emerged as a combination of previous social networking sites, and I will be addressing how these things are both beneficial and not-so-beneficial in achieving its purpose. While tumblr includes some blog qualities mixed with usual microblogging qualities, there is no doubt that tumblr has its flaws… despite the fact that it is a hybrid of popular sites that have succeeded before it. I will also talk about the various options tumblr provides/the numerous opportunities it offers for users to create multiple tumblr pages of different genres, interests, and themes and how tumblr allows for users to easily alter and update their page’s designs. My presentation partners are going to be discussing Twitter and Flickr, which worked out perfectly because tumblr fits perfectly in between those two sites as a combination of both. The question that I want to ask the class is: Do you think that microblogging and social networking sites such as Tumblr, that mix short timely messages (twitter) with photo updates (Flickr) is an effective new form of web 2.0 CMC? Or does the fact that Tumblr operates through the use of a fast-paced environment of content make it hard for users such as businesses and brands to adopt the site as an alternative blog form when sites like Facebook and Twitter have been adopted as key forms of social media in the business world?

See you all tomorrow and remember to wish a Happy Birthday to Elissa Alster who is turning 22, October 12th!!

Ariel Barron