16 January 2007

Real Knowledge of Virtual Worlds

If anyone has the right to pontificate about virtual worlds, it's Howard Rheingold. Fifteen years ago, Rheingold wrote Virtual Reality: The Revolutionary Technology of Computer-Generated Artificial Worlds - and How It Promises to Transform Society. We're still waiting, of course, but that only makes his historical perpective on things even more valuable:

Some things about online social behavior seems to be eternal and universal--trolls and griefers and the eternal meta-debate about what to do about them, for example. There's a widespread amnesia, as if these kinds of cybersocializing were new. Not many people online have much sense of history. That's probably true of just about everything. What I really like is that it's so easy to roll your own these days. It used to be a big deal to set up your own chat or BBS or listserv. Now it's part of the tool set for millions of people, and it's mostly free.

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