Making Sense of Entertainment in Virtual Worlds

In September of 2008, with the ink on my doctorate barely dry, I jumped a plane and landed in Denmark.  I had accepted a post-doctorate research fellowship at Roskilde University with the Virtual Worlds Research Project.  My main research project with the group would turn out to be a qualitative experiment to understand how people make sense of virtual worlds as entertainment sources compared to other types of media technologies.  An overview of the idea behind my research can still be found on the project’s blog.  A more detailed discussion of the research design and the analysis approach.

This video shows what it was like to be in the Nintendo Wii part of the study, and is an indication of what’s to come in this post.  

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Television Showrunners & Their Fans: Does the Internet Make Them Friends?

Dan Harmon has been replaced as the showrunner for the NBC sitcom Community.  The replacement came on the heels of the series being given a fourth, and final, half-season order to let the show wrap-up it’s ultimate question of: will the Greendale Seven actually ever graduate from their community college?  Harmon is being replaced by two people who have run other shows, such as the “successful” series Just Shoot Me.   

Community has never been a ratings or Emmy darling.  With it’s humor having a decidedly geeky-tinge, it has been more the darling of the true geek culture: people who get the inside jokes to movies, television shows, and video games.  If you do not know Doctor Who, then you would not get Tory and Abed’s fascination with Inspector Spacetime.  If you did not pay close enough attention, then you did not get the carefully planned Beetlejuice running gag.  If you don’t like ’80s comedies, then you would not get Chevy Chase.  So, with the show’s struggles, it is no surprise really that Sony, the show’s producing company, would want someone more polished and proven at the helm to try to finish out the series with higher ratings.

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Virtual Worlds Television and Metanomics: Innovating or Remediating?

I’ve been using this blog to deconstruct research I’ve done that are interesting vignettes of findings, but perhaps in need of a non-traditional method of publication.  In one such paper that I’ve been deconstructing,  I’ve already discussed the Ghost Hunters live special episodes for how they incorporated online technologies as well as the virtual living rooms created by NBC and CBS.  The final piece of that paper is the basis for my current research on virtual worlds television; in this post, I discuss the first virtual worlds television programming I studied, the series Metanomics, for how it demonstrated the potential for social and content interactivities.

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