Connected Chapter 8

Chapter 8
Virtual Worlds
Virtual networks on the internet make social networks visible.
Entirely new networks can form in virtual worlds that mimic real
life. They can also provide a platform for research.
Photo by juanpol, Flickr
Virtual Worlds
Online you can look however you want!
But people still mostly behave like
people (or at least the people they look
More attractive avatars tend to have
more confidence!
Photos by Minako Bracken and Torley, Flickr
Virtual Worlds
The Ultimatum Game works in
virtual worlds too.
But people are affected by the
appearance of their avatar!
Player 2’s with tall avatars accept
low offers only 38% of the time
while short avatars accepted 72%
of the time, regardless of the
height of the actual players!
Photos by moggs oceanlane, Flickr
Technology and Networks
Technology has not only affected
communication but also travel.
People are much more mobile.
As the population grows, this
means exposure to more and
more people.
Photos by woodleywonderworks, SP8254 and davipt, Flickr
There have always been fears that each new form of technology
will diminish good-old-fashioned means of maintaining
But social networks have only grown stronger with the dawn of
the telegraph, phone, and the internet!
Photos by Alexander O'Neill, Johnny Jupiter Photo and vanz, Flickr
The town of Netville is a great example of how technology aids
rather than compromises social networks.
In this town, “wired residents”…
• Could name more fellow residents
• Talked to more fellow residents
• Visited more fellow residents
• And called more fellow residents!
…than their “unwired” neighbors.
Photos by macieklew and ndrwfgg, Flickr
Networks Go Online
There are now hundreds of online social networks!
Photos by,, and
Networks Go Online
These social networks reflect both real world offline interactions
and new social networks or connections formed online.
Photos by
Networks Go Online
Some users have hundreds or even thousands of “friends” on
these sites.
But the average user has 110 friends on Facebook.
That’s very close to the expected maximum in a real-world social
network (Dunbar’s number).
Of those, only about 6.6 are close friends anyway.
Photos by
Reality and Wikiality
Wiki = the Hawaiian
word for “fast.”
Online wikis are
designed to allow
anyone to share
information fast!
Photo by
Reality and Wikiality
Some think wikipedia is not reliable because anyone can write
anything! But social networks emerge to regulate each topic.
In wikis, individuals create something together that none of the
individuals could have made alone.
Photo by
Reality and Wikiality
Access to so much information and so many
people can be both beneficial and dangerous.
It is important to
realize that online
social networks and
offline social networks
are two completely
different things,
though rooted in our
basic humanity.
Photos by Ramona.Forcella and quinet, Flickr
The Same But Different
The boundaries between the internet and reality are
beginning to blur.
One woman even went to jail for having an avatar killed.
Photos by ☆ Shorne ☆and kangotraveler, Flickr

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