Virtually Friends: An exploration of Friendship Claims and Expectations in Immersive Virtual Worlds

Foucault Welles, B., Rousse, T., Merrill, N. and Contractor, N.
Journal of Virtual Worlds Research
7,2, article 7024, ISSN 1941-9477
May 1, 2014

Abstract

Recent scholarship  suggests that immersive virtual worlds may be especially well suited for  friendship formation on the Internet. Through 65 semi-structured interviews  with residents in highly-populated portions of the virtual world Second Life,  we explore the nature of friendship within the immersive virtual world,  examining friendship claims and expectations and the specific features of the  virtual world that enable friendships to emerge. Results reveal that  friendships in Second Life are common but not necessarily dependent on  features such as co-presence and shared activities that are unique to the  virtual world. Instead, frequent, text-based communication facilitates the  emergence and maintenance of friendship in Second Life.

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