Evolution of a Large Online Social Network focuses on Weaklink, one of the largest online social networks in China, to illuminate its exposition of social networking’s evolution. The author created his own profile while adding anonymous friends. To monitor the evolution of the social network, the user logged in for a specific amount of time in order to evaluate when (and how) the networking developed. The article catalogues the initial peak interest, garnered among a few hardcore aficionados who transmitted their enthusiasm to their joining friends. Later, users habituated towards social networking’s novelty; the euphoria since declined. Interestingly, the article notes that most relationships were created between two old users or one old user and one new user. Ultimately, the virtual world encourages engagement by shattering invisible boundaries between social groups.
This piece provides a general overview of how social networks develop. The discussion regarding the rise, fall, and plateau of interest in social networking provides valuable insight to how social networks are formed and – more importantly – who forms them and for what purpose(s).
According to Anatomy of a Successful Social Network, users are “feeding off the irrationality of the wisdom of the crowds.” Unfortunately, opponents to the “online proletariat’s” views – whether they be accurate reflections of society or not – can do little to combat social networking. Additionally, social networking sites are incorrect in their belief that increasing features will directly enhance user interest. Users, the author speculates, are already “overloaded” with information; applying additional features on overburdened social networking sites only exacerbates confusion. However, hope exists in niche forums, which means that users are looking for very specific, accurate information. Smaller communities are able to more aptly and genuinely demonstrate value to end users: “a sense of unity and purpose.”
Users’ attention spans are incredibly limited. Therefore, users must have a strong motivation or some desirable – and perceivably attainable – goal in addition to small tools to maintain intrigue. Also, users invest hours developing their identities online, then must stay online to justify their initial investment. Apart from their time and effort, the site – regardless if its portrayal is accurate – is a conflated persona of its creator; thus, users feel emotionally invested in the site, much like a mother would to her child. Hope continues to exist in niche forums, which means that users are looking for very specific, accurate information.
In this introductory essay for the Symposium issue of the New York Law School Law Review, Noveck explores the role of law in virtual game worlds. In order to develop a foundation on which to base law, it must be acknowledged that cyber worlds are a social community and there is a delicate relationship between the game players and the game creators and owners. This relationship, when extended to ownership, remains blurry and incompletely outlined. Hence, there is growing debate over the application of the real world law to virtual worlds.
Online role-playing games steadily grew in popularity since their mainstream start in the early 1990s. The steep increase in fan base correlates with the acceptance of Internet connectivity as an essential component of the average household. In turn, game companies realized the earning potential of online multiplayer games. By investing in sophisticated game physics and functionality, popular games could lure in users for long-term play.
Virtual worlds, at their core, are social networks and communities. They have traits which mimic human interaction within real-life communities. Property is created, goods are accumulated, and currency is traded. Instead of simply studying the laws of virtual worlds, Noveck suggests study of laws in virtual worlds as a way of learning about how law functions. Virtual worlds do not have written laws which govern player interaction. In fact, they are similar to real-life law in which it is continually revised and developed by new situations and new circumstances. However, there exists a basic constitution which is rarely, if ever, touched. Recognizing this, it may be possible to simulate a fictional law system to test in virtual worlds. This represents an application of virtual worlds towards possible benefit in the real world. These trials show a modern method of applying technology in order to better serve current real-life law models.