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Determinants of Friendship in Social Networking Virtual Worlds

Chesney, Thomas; Chuah, Swee-Hoon; Hull, Wendy; Hoffmann, Robert; Larner, Jeremy

Authors

THOMAS CHESNEY thomas.chesney@nottingham.ac.uk
Professor of Computational Social Science

Swee-Hoon Chuah

Wendy Hull

Robert Hoffmann



Abstract

This paper examines the determinants of friendship between two users in a virtual world who are unaware of each other's real identities. Drawing on theories of homophily, heterophily and propinquity, three virtual world behaviours are analysed: avatar appearance, avatar location, and avatar communication. Data are collected on 179 participants interacting in a novel virtual world. The main results show that: (1) avatars did not tend to form friendships with avatars that are similar in appearance to themselves but did tend to form friendships with avatars that are dressed differently from themselves; (2) in terms of location, the closer an avatar stands to other avatars, the more likely the avatar is to receive a friend invitation; and (3) the fewer words an avatar uses in communication, the more likely the avatar is to receive a friend invitation. This paper contributes to theories of virtual world interaction and to using virtual worlds as a data collection platform.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2014
Journal Communications of the Association for Information Systems
Publisher Association for Information Systems
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 34
Article Number 72
Pages 1397-1416
APA6 Citation Chesney, T., Chuah, S., Hull, W., Hoffmann, R., & Larner, J. (2014). Determinants of Friendship in Social Networking Virtual Worlds. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 34, 1397-1416. https://doi.org/10.17705/1CAIS.03472
DOI https://doi.org/10.17705/1CAIS.03472
Keywords avatar, server log, telemetry, online community, assortativity
Publisher URL https://aisel.aisnet.org/cais/vol34/iss1/72/
Related Public URLs https://espace.curtin.edu.au/bitstream/handle/20.500.11937/26710/199330_118348_Published_version.pdf?sequence=2&isAllowed=y

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