Last week we heard about Cybertown, into which people can immigrate as avatars, establish virtual homes, seek employment, shop, and engage in conversation. The focus of last week's presentation was on the visual aspects of the experience. As the presenters noted, the visual aspects are essentially a lie, but the social aspects can be compelling, if not addictive. The social aspects are the focus of this presentation.
The primary references for this presentation are: 1) Cyberville: Clicks, Culture, and the Creation of an Online Town, by Stacy Horn, founder of Echo, the Virtual Salon of New York City; and 2) The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier, by Howard Rheingold, which is available online, at http://www.rheingold.com/vc/book/
If time permits, we'll visit SpeakOut.com, a virtual community of folks who wish to join together to make their voices heard by their elected officials.
Storm King is hosting a site entitled The Psychology of Virtual Communities, at http://www.concentric.net/~Astorm/ However, on cursory review, the title seemed to be be most interesting feature of the site.
Those who have a strong interest in this topic may wish to register early for VirComm2001, the conference for virtual community professionals. This year's conference, held earlier this week in San Francisco, sold out. The VirComm2000 Web site is at http://www.vir-comm.com/