Posted by: robertheinz | May 9, 2013

Real-world implications of virtual worlds

The very last paragraph of chapter one in Boellstorff, T. et al. (2012) got me thinking about the presence of real-world implications as a result of ethnography in virtual worlds. There the authors argue, that one of the many contributions ethnography in virtual worlds has made is by showing “how technologically mediated sociality shapes and is shaped by the contemporary context”(p. 12). Throughout the chapter the authors repetitively insist on the importance of ethnographic research and its ability to identify connections between the real world and virtual world.

I am wondering what their position on more violent virtual worlds and the potential support of more violent behavior in the real world would be?  After all, the role of violent video games has been coming up ever since the Columbine shooting in the United States or the Guttenberg massacre in Erfurt, Germany. The impact of violent computer games has since been highly controversial. Maybe the difference lies between virtual worlds and video games, which are in contrast to virtual worlds not persistent. Due to that, users of ego-shooters may worry less about consequences of their actions as they can always restart of log off which eventually may support similar irresponsibility in their “real” life. In a virtual world in comparison, users could be excluded of a particular virtual community due to irresponsible behavior.

What are other implications ethnography in virtual worlds tells us about our daily lives?

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