You can be too rich: mediated communication in a virtual world


Wadley, G.; Gibbs, M. R.; Ducheneaut, N. You can be too rich: mediated communication in a virtual world. 21st Annual Conference of the Australian Computer-Human Interaction Special Interest Group of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia (HFESA) (OZCHI); 2009 November 23-27; Melbourne, Australia.


Internet-based virtual worlds (VWs) have emerged as a popular form of collaborative virtual environment. Most have offered only text chat for user communication; however several VWs have recently introduced voice. While research has demonstrated benefits of voice, its introduction into the popular VW Second Life (SL) was controversial, and some users have rejected it. In order to understand the benefits and problems that voice brings to virtual worlds, we used qualitative methods to gather and analyse data from SL users. We discuss our results in the light of media-richness theory and its critiques, arguing that preferences for voice or text reflect the broader problem of managing social presence in virtual contexts.

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