Digital Cities II: Computational and Sociological Approaches

Volume 2362 of the series Lecture Notes in Computer Science pp 203-218


Lessons Learned: Social Interaction in Virtual Environments

  • Lili ChengAffiliated withMicrosoft Corporation
  • , Shelly FarnhamAffiliated withMicrosoft Corporation
  • , Linda StoneAffiliated withMicrosoft Corporation

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With the goal of studying online community, we created two multi-user virtual environment products [1], Microsoft V-Chat [2] in 1996, and the Virtual Worlds Platform [3] in 1998. We analyzed the social interaction that developed in these virtual environments and were particularly interested in better understanding what factors contribute to sustaining online community. Drawing from the design and evolution of physical cities [4] we believed an online community must be able to change over time and evolve the space within a flexible infrastructure. Over the past six years we have learned a number of lessons about the design of community and the effects of design.