Virtual Communities and Virtual Worlds


Track Chairs:

Fiona Fui-Hoon Nah, Missouri University of Science and Technology,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Shu Schiller, Wright State University,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Brian Mennecke, Iowa State University,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Track Description:

The goal of the Virtual Communities and Virtual Worlds track is to further existing knowledge and understanding of virtual communities and virtual worlds, and offer implications for research and practice.  Virtual communities are collective groups of individuals who utilize computer-mediated environments to interact and pursue mutual goals.  A virtual world is a computer-generated three-dimensional space where users interact with one another and with objects in the environment through their avatars.  Virtual communities and virtual worlds are growing in importance and are used for various purposes – from information sharing to collective decision-making to collaborative work in both business and educational contexts.  This track aims to extend our understanding of virtual communities and virtual worlds to enhance the theoretical foundation for future research and to provide guidance to practitioners.

Minitracks:

Affect and Social Processes in Virtual Communities and Virtual Worlds

Traci A Carte, University of Oklahoma Norman Campus, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Nan (Tina) Wang, University of Oklahoma Norman Campus, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Amber Young, University of Oklahoma Norman Campus, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Virtual collaboration has become commonplace in organizations, many of whom are seeking to leverage technology to better access their customers and create better work environments for their employees. A potentially overlooked area of research related to virtual collaboration is how affect shapes social processes in virtual contexts. The intent of this mini-track is to bring together researchers interested in social processes within virtual communities and worlds to develop better understanding of: 1.) how individuals communicate, sense, and interpret the affective states and social processes in their community; 2.) how collective affect emerges and diffuses; and 3.) how affect and the social processes impact the groups/communities/worlds being studied.

Business Applications, Value, and Opportunities in Virtual Worlds

Vikas Jain, University of Tampa, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

The 3D and interactive web environment of virtual worlds is generating significant interest among individuals and businesses alike. However, there are a number of unaddressed issues that need attention from the research community such as what real value virtual worlds provide or what the social and cultural impacts of virtual worlds are. There is a need to examine what kind of opportunities are being enabled by virtual worlds, what challenges virtual worlds are facing today, and what opportunities they promise for the future.

The objective of this mini-track is to provide a forum for discussion and presentation of original research highlighting value and opportunities associated with virtual worlds’ evolution and adoption across multiple fields. We seek papers that address value proposition of virtual worlds from a theoretical, conceptual, or empirical perspective. Both quantitative and qualitative studies on virtual worlds are welcome.

Crowdsourcing in Virtual Communities

David Geiger, University of Mannheim, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Martin Schader, University of Mannheim, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Thimo Schulze, University of Mannheim, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Robert C. Nickerson, San Francisco State University, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Antonis C. Stylianou, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Marta Indulska, The University of Queensland, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Axel Korthaus, Victoria University, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Crowdsourcing harnesses the potential of large networks of people via open calls for contribution and thus enables organizations to tap into a diversity of knowledge, skills, and perspectives. Fueled by the increasing pervasiveness of the Internet, crowdsourcing has been rapidly gaining importance in a wide range of contexts, both in research and practice. In order to provide better guidance for future crowdsourcing efforts, it is crucial to gain a deeper and integrated understanding of the phenomenon. While research on crowdsourcing is multidisciplinary, information systems take a central role in realizing crowdsourcing approaches by interconnecting organizations and globally distributed contributors. By viewing crowdsourcing from an IS perspective, this track aims to channel related research directions and move from the consideration of isolated aspects and applications to a systemic foundation for the design of socio-technical crowdsourcing systems.

We encourage submissions from theoretical, empirical, and design science research on the following and adjacent topics:

Crowdsourcing ecosystems and markets
Platforms, tools, and technologies
Task characteristics, task design, and task choice
Contributor motivation and incentive structures
Design of workflows and processes
Mobile crowdsourcing
Quality assurance and evaluation of contributions
Economics of crowdsourcing
Case studies of crowdsourcing effectiveness
Adoption of crowdsourcing business models
Innovative applications

Education and Training in Virtual Worlds

Brenda Eschenbrenner, University of Nebraska at Kearney, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Xiaofeng Chen, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Keng Siau, Missouri University of Science & Technology, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Virtual worlds present new platforms for enhancing education and training.  With abilities to simulate the physical world or build entirely new worlds, new approaches to learning abound.  The rich environment lends itself to providing interactive experiences such that hands-on learning activities can be conducted and a constructive learning approach taken.  Also, the essence of a shared space opens up new avenues for collaborative and social learning.  Educators and organizations are expanding their traditional approaches to training, learning, and knowledge transfer to capitalize on the new opportunities and the unique aspects that abound with virtual worlds.

Hence, this mini-track seeks to explore the opportunities as well as the issues associated with education and training in virtual world environments.  We encourage paper submissions that study the development, use, and assessment of virtual worlds in education and training contexts, both from the instructor’s and the learner’s perspective.  We welcome papers that study the application of virtual worlds in this context as well as challenge such applications.  This mini-track is open to both theoretical and empirical studies, and is open to all research methods (e.g., survey, field study, case study, experimentation).

Participation and Behaviors in Virtual Communities and Virtual Worlds

Honglei Li, Northumbria University, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Virtual communities have evolved into an essential business application for the last decade and it has been widely applied in marketing, branding, knowledge management, education, and many other areas. On the contrast, virtual worlds are not popular in the industry despite many big companies are still keeping their virtual presence in SecondLife or their individual virtual world. In both virtual communities and virtual worlds, members’ participation and behavior play crucial role in sustaining the virtual communities or virtual worlds to run. The participation and behavior in these two areas share similarities yet differences do exist. There have accumulated various theories explaining partition and behaviors in both virtual communities and virtual worlds. However, there hasn’t been an established line of theory to explain participation and behaviors of these two virtual places. The aim of this mini track aims at calling for new theories, frameworks, and integrative work to explain participation and behaviors for these two areas.

Social Analytics and Economics of Social Media

Balaji Rajagopalan, Oakland University, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Mathias Klier, University of Regensburg, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Florian Probst, University of Augsburg, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

With the rise of Social Media, individuals nowadays vividly exchange their experiences and opinions with previously unknown intensity, reach, and speed among each other. Social Analytics should provide deeper insights regarding the underlying social structures, communication patterns, and individuals’ behavior, which in turn help to learn more about the economic value of Social Media.

This mini-track seeks rigorous and relevant submissions in the context of Social Analytics and Economics of Social Media providing new insights on challenges and opportunities for organizations (e.g., regarding advertisement, business models, market research) and society in a broader sense (e.g., regarding information overload, viral diffusion, public sentiment, data privacy). Thereby, we encourage all perspectives of analyses (e.g., strategic, organizational, behavioral, economic, and technical). We welcome all methodological approaches, including, but not limited to, theoretical, analytical, design-oriented, and empirical research. Real world applications in respect to particular industries such as retail and e-commerce are also encouraged.

Virtual Communities - Services, Business Models, and Crowd Creation

Jan Marco Leimeister, Kassel University, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Balaji Rajagopalan, Oakland University, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Ulrich Bretschneider, Kassel University, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Virtual communities (VC) and social networking based on social networking sites, message boards, chat rooms, user groups and blogs have emerged as high activity domains on the Internet. VC and social networks are designed for a variety of purposes, ranging from Communities of Interest, Communities of Relationship (Facebook, etc.), or Innovation Communities (Dell Idea Storm, etc.). Web 2.0 Mechanisms are also boosting the development of VC and the role of user-generated content within VC. The significance of these communities is evident by the impact they have on information generation and transmission, and socialization. For example, today, blogs are quickly becoming a primary source of information in a variety of domains. But also the generation of innovations or the sourcing of tasks is achieved through communities as the examples of oDesk or Innocentive illustrate.

Within the field of IS researchers are interested in studying interaction patterns, social structures, transaction processes, management aspects, business models, and design aspects of information systems and services for VC. Further related issues are trust, network effects, transaction costs as well as the generation of innovations. ""Wisdom of Crowds"", ""Collective Intelligence"" and ""Crowdsourcing"" are important new terms describing mechanisms around user-generated content in VC and Social Networks.