MySpace and Bebo are well known social networking sites whereas Kaneva is less well known but has an interesting slant on the virtual world. Active members are invited to create their own virtual den, where they can hangout with their friends. This constrained version of Second Life captures a lot of the social elements of that space, but without the technical barriers or possibilites of the real thing. I’m just wondering whether scientists and educators would take to this approach to create exclusive laboratory hangouts or classrooms? One aspect that is lacking of course is the proximity effect in SL – building a Science and Technology continent like our own SciLands would be out of the question – but social networks could compensate for this to some extent. I think a better approach would be to add more social networking tools to SL, and this will surely happen in time. For more on social networking and virtual worlds see Aleks Krotoski’s Blog, Social Sim.
Virtual World and Social Networking