Avatopia: a cross-media community for societal action
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A cross-media platform was designed for a community of young teenagers oriented towards societal change. The platform involved an interactive web-forum featuring creative and communicative collaborative tools in a 3D avatar environment, and a weekly show in national public-service television. Informal assessment of the work indicated that (1) an integrated spiral of production and consumption across the two media channels involved is a viable design concept to support community building, (2) off-the-shelf avatar technology and consumer-grade Internet connectivity can form a feasible infrastructure for collaborative storytelling tools, and (3) a participatory design process wherein participants transition into the role of mentors and norm carriers upon deployment can be a feasible way to support subcultural community building towards “difficult” topics, even though it entails considerable resource demands. All of these findings are potentially transferable to other design domains and audiences.
KeywordsCross-media Community Sociability Public service Participatory design Avatar world
The following people (in alphabetical order) made crucial contributions to the Avatopia project: Andreas Carlsson, Marie Denward, Marcus Gårdman, Fredrika Narheim, Andreas Nilsson, Johannes Nyholm, and Johanna Wallin. The Avatopia project was funded in part by Ungdomsstyrelsen and Stiftelsen Framtidens Kultur.
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