New bibliography of online worlds and social networking
I’ve just put together a list of readings for my new module at Sheffield Hallam University, Online Worlds and Social Networking.
In Part One we explore and analyse a number of online worlds (game worlds, Second Life, sex chat rooms, consumer tribes, etc.) whilst in Part Two we focus on social networking sites in both their Internet and mobile phone dimensions. As the module proceeds students are strongly encouraged to make connections (as well as disconnections) between the two bodies of scholarship. Broadly speaking, the first half of the module, Online Worlds, deals with those computer-mediated domains in which collective forms of interaction and sociality are sought and fostered; e.g. the 3D virtual world Second Life. In contrast, the Social Networking part deals with a more recent social phenomenon: the ongoing boom in Internet sites and mobile technologies centred around individuals and their own personal networks. Some influential authors have linked this trend to the global rise of ‘networked individualism’ (see Castells 2001, Wellman et al 2003), i.e. the reconfiguration of social relations away from the collective forms that predominated in the past (families, villages, associations, firms) and towards ‘me-centred’ formations.
Please let me know if there are other references I should add, as this is only work in progress. Thanks!