Case studies of the Library Hangouts and the Metanomics Second Life projects
Results from two case studies of user-driven innovation in virtual worlds, i.e. Second Life, are presented in this paper. The observations are part of the ongoing research project "Sense-making strategies and the user-driven innovations in virtual worlds," 2008-2011 (worlds.ruc.dk). Several cases have been followed among these the "Library Hangouts" and the "Metanomics" projects both of which are Second Life cases. Libraries are public institutions with societal obligations as to the general education in society. As such they are worthwhile following, when they move into the virtual world of Second Life. The Metanomics shows deal with the economic aspects of the Metaverse. Questions dealt with in the case studies are concerned with if and how the creators of the projects and places under study have dealt with possible gapinesses and/ or have developed bridgings (Dervin and Foreman-Wernet 2003) in the process of making the user-driven innovations a reality in Second Life. Results from the Library Hangout's case study show that, gradually, the project's open co-design vision of the Second Life version of the library is modified as building rights become privileged. The project team increasingly has to take control of the activities of the place. In the Metanomics case, the well-known framing of a serious TV talk show is remediated to become a Second Life show and project. Recurrent observations make visible some of the innovative steps that are taken in the project with the aim to attract many and different audiences. A new form of communication denoted "constructive cacophony" (Bloomfield 2008) is developed. The innovative steps taken in the two cases are analysed based on inscriptions of the programs and anti-programs (Latour 1991, 1998) of the case studies. The paper concludes that the two case studies make clear the importance of reflecting on how best to make use of the new medium, that is, to build up the knowledge and skills necessary to be able to balance the recognizable with the experimental in the user-driven innovation and design of a virtual world such as Second Life.
Virtuelle verdener, Second Life, brugerdreven innovation; Virtual worlds, Second Life, Library Hangouts, Metanomics, user-driven innovation, control, cacophony, design, case study, participatory observation, video-interview