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Session: Carl Couch Awards October 25, 2007

Posted by Sarah in AoIR.
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On Friday I also went to the Carl Couch Awards session.  This is an award from the Carl Couch Center for Social and Internet Research for student papers analyzing the Internet from a symbolic interactionist perspective.  I won second place in the 2003 competition with my paper on (re)embodying the virtual space of text-based chat rooms, and I figured I would go hear what this year’s winners were doing.  As in my year, the first and second place winners were there.

Social Construction of Virtual Reality and the Stigmatized Identity of a Newbie 

Rob Boostrom  presented his research on newbies in Second Life.  He explored ideas of secondary socialization, enforcement of social norms, and how the newbie is stigmatized.  He talked about reactions of “older” and how they helped (or didn’t help) newbies acclimate to the SL environment (become socialized, but also learn to navigate the world in technical ways).  In all, it was a very interesting and very SI exploration of SL and I think serves to illustrate how you can’t necessarily separate out what’s going on online from what’s going on offline.

Socialization in Open Source Software

Jijesh Devan and Dany DiTullio were looking at the “careers” of participants in the open source community.  They looked at patterns of activity and how people’s involvement in the OSS community evolves; they said that no other research has looked at the process by which members of the community are socialized.  They don’t have any data yet, but it will be really interesting to see what they find as they get on the ground and talking to people in the community.

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