Virtual World Television Products and Practices: Comparing Television Production in Second Life to Traditional Television Production

CarrieLynn D. Reinhard, Pooky Amsterdam

Abstract


The virtual world Second Life provides for user-generated content creation as a necessary condition for its construction and sustenance.  Throughout the course of designing the world, in individual and collective acts, Second Life users have become television producers.  Their ability to produce content analogous to traditional television indicates how the virtual world is a social medium aligned with the paradigmatic shift from consumption to produsage known as Web 2.0. 

Introduced here is a project analyzing the television production in this virtual world that begins with the definition of virtual world television (VWTV).  The analysis presented considers how the products, practices, positions and power dynamics of the VWTV producers in Second Life are comparable to those of traditional television. The comparisons are made to consider the extent to which VWTV producers are embracing the disruptive capabilities of Web 2.0 to transgress traditional television. The analysis of products and practices indicates that there is no widespread transgression of the content formats of television, or in how television productions are deemed to be successful. In addition, there appear to be numerous overlaps in the practices, positions and power dynamics of production.  However, the very act of changing their relationship to the concept of television-as-text by engaging with a new form of television-as-technology indicates how the producers are able to transgress traditional television due to the capabilities of this Web 2.0 social medium.


Keywords


television; Second Life; Web 2.0; produsage; transgressions

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The full website for the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research can be found at: http://jvwresearch.org