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An infrastructure for social software

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1 Author(s)
Rockwell, R. ; Black Sun Interactive, Munich, Germany

In a virtual world, as DVE (distributed virtual environment) applications are often called, logistic support must be supplied by software. As the range of DVE applications expands, they will need software support of a kind rarely envisioned by previous generations of programmers. A new breed of programs is required: social software. The overriding point of social software is not simulation but conversation. Its applications are not substitutes for real-world interaction, but extensions of it. Its “worlds” are not virtual in the customary sense; they are real media for meeting others online. Designers of social software are less concerned with how well their on-screen objects mimic real-world objects than with how well they connect their users to each other. Simulation environments can be thought of as being like the “preview” mode of a word processor, designed to match the look of a printed document. Social environments, by comparison, are like hypertext, opening up avenues of communication that were unforeseen in the media that preceded them. The disparate programs meant for virtual worlds will need a common platform to underpin widespread social interaction

Published in:

Spectrum, IEEE  (Volume:34 ,  Issue: 3 )