Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Post-Convergence (Virtual) World: Gaming and Social Networks

In 2006, I think one of the most interesting developments in the online world was the convergence of blogger culture with social networking culture. Sites like Vox proved that social networks could successfully cater to grownups and bloggy-types, while blogs and social news platforms made efforts to beef up user profiles and social networking features such as friending, in-site mail, and media (pics, videos, audio, and text) sharing. One of my favorite social networking sites, MyBlogLog, is a stripped down social network that serves as a powerful networking and profiling tool for bloggers.

This year, I think there's going to be a lot of action in combining the immersive virtual world of MMOs (massive multiplayer online games) with advanced social networking features. Or, 2D-meets-3D if you like. TechCrunch's review of Kaneva showcases a good example, "a new social network that extends the concept of MySpace into a virtual world."

While Second Life has received quite a lot of buzz, a fair criticism is that people don't have a lot to do there. New MMOs will have a focus, even if it is to extend the hang out/check out bands/check out each other culture that thrives at massively popular social networking hubs such as MySpace. But I think that the online gaming world, more than anything, will incorporate web-based social networking features that support and extend existing game communities.

7 comments:

Ourtbeat said...

This is a great post! I came across your blog while doing research for a project my cousin and I are creating. I instantly read other blog posts of yours! Definitely a fantastic blog that I will be subscribing to.

My cousin and I have been in the process of creating something that utilizes some of the same 3D aspects of Kaneva without focusing entirely on the “social” side of things (per se) and instead finding a way to bring these cool technologies into a platform that would benefit the "professional" Web 2.0 user. This is actually my first time hearing about Kaneva, so it’s funny that some of our development ideas coincide with what Kaneva is doing. If you’re looking for something that works on every system, mixes 3D and 2D with better graphics, with a more organized profile scheme, and doesn’t require a download to use, check out my project www.ourtbeat.com. This is a professional networking site created by artists for artists. We cater to all forms of art and art appreciation (including blogging and writing). We aren’t some corporation with an agenda, we are two young Seattle based artists, who are recruiting more artists, to create an online promotional platform that is both organized and professional while supplying its members with an interactive 3D experience to network and cultivate their creative selves. Web 2.0 is a fantastic development in technology, and if harnessed properly, can provide artists and entrepreneurs with cutting edge means of housing an interactive portfolio. This combined with multiple promotional opportunities within a 3D network of colleagues, artist forums, and galleries to view and sell work can take Web 2.0 to a step beyond the social gaming of it all by providing virtual experiences that lead to real life success. Thus encouraging artists to focus on promoting their first life rather than an alter ego second life.

We are currently recruiting beta testers for our private beta launch. I find your blog to be quite interesting with exceptionally valid comments. Your opinions would be greatly appreciated on ourtbeat. If you’re an artist, someone who appreciates art, or someone who is interested in the creative evolution of social networks, I strongly encourage you to check out our website and sign up to become a beta tester. Ourtbeat is currently under construction, but we have a splash page up acting as a place holder right now. On that splash page, you can get more information about us, sing up for beta, and spread the word to friends. As a beta tester, you will get your run of the site as it’s being created. This gives you the opportunity to tell us your likes and dislikes as well as what you want out of the site!

Please email me with any questions or if you would like to further this discussion. I will keep reading your blog, so keep up the fantastic work!
amy@ourtbeat.com

Eric Berlin said...

Thanks Amy! Ourtbeat souunds very interesting, please keep us posted on developments! Integrating MMOs with elegant social networking features will be a huge growth area, so it sounds like you're in perfect position.

Sorry that it took me a little while to get back to you... but I've just changed online locations!

Please stop by Online Media Cultist and check out the new digs (www.onlinemediacultist.com).

Cheers ~ EB

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Sildenafil Citrate said...

I have been in a videogame conference and they talked about a virtual videogame world and it really caught my attention and I hope one day I can play in a global virtual world, it would be awesome!