Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Exploring Cyberspace

1. How do the affordances of Facebook and pure text-based chat rooms differ? Which of these differences do you consider may have led to the death of chat rooms and the meteoric rise of social network sites?

 I think the main affordance that differs between social network sites like Facebook and pure text-based chat rooms is the fact that there is hardly any anonymity on Facebook. Facebook provides you with a profile of that person – including a picture, full name, where they live and sometimes phone numbers, compared to chat rooms where you can simply pick a random nickname for yourself and you don’t know anybody in that chat room and they don’t know you – allowing all the consequences from the anonymity. It is more socially unacceptable to pretend to be somebody else and to create a fake profile on Facebook as it is seen as ‘weird’ and ‘stalkerish’, yet logging onto chat rooms where you don’t know the people seems an acceptable thing to do. On Facebook, you can ‘add’ friends, people you actually know physically, whereas on chat rooms, you are connected with random people who could be on the other side of the world. I think the fact that you can virtually connect with your ‘real-life’ friends on Facebook is what drove it to become more popular that text-based chat rooms. Even with just the added applications like being able to post statuses and post things on your friends’ walls, you are able to keep up with what your friends are up to. It is recorded for a longer period of time – in fact, the latest change to Facebook allows you to go as far back to when that person joined Facebook and see what they were posting at that time. Whereas on chat rooms, I don’t believe that the chats are logged and recorded for that long. Also, the fact that you can instant message on Facebook anyway means there is no need for the chat rooms – unless you do have a liking for talking to people you do not know. 

4. Overview the main reasons you chose the SL avatar you did.

I personally chose my Second Life avatar based on what resembled me the most (out of what was left anyway). For me, the physical looks of the avatar were important in order to reflect me in the virtual online world. I tried to match hair colour, hair style and the type of clothes as much as I could to what my hair looks like and the kind of clothes I would wear.

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