An impact of Virtual Reality(VR) technology to Social network.

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Hello everybody.

Two weeks ago I found one interesting piece of news from BBC technology. Let’s check this out.

http://bbc.in/1nt3Ee7

This is a project that aims to employ Virtual Reality(VR) technology to creates a new experience of watching news.

Moreover, I have a second video to show you. This one is OCULUS, a goggle device that can bring you to VR world. It’s not a fake or just only science fiction gadget anymore. 

What is OCULUS?

     It’s formal name is OCULUS Rift. This is the goggles device, which is developed by Oculus VR company in California,USA. It can create a stereoscopic 3D view, which deploys the same mechanism of real eye watching. Moreover, it has a motion sensor to detect you face movement and sync this data with an image perspective of your goggles. However, if you want to get full experience of VR, you are required to buy one more high power computer and movement sensor. It obviously does not seems to be a device for everyone at this time.

More detail : http://www.oculusvr.com/

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What is Virtual Reality (VR)?

     Virtual Reality is defined in several definitions. One definition for Virtual Reality is defined by Jonathan Steuer, Stanford University, the particular system which includes computer for real-time animation processing, a set of wired gloves and movement tracker working as a controller, and big goggles with stereoscopic display. Other definition illustrates that VR technology is a space which is created by computer program  and make individuals perceive that they are in particular immersive space. From several definitions, VR technology includes virtual place, goggle device which allow user to see virtual place and movement sensor to detect user movements.

How can VR impact Social network?

     VR can enhance social network experience by allowing users to have an engagement further than past. Normally communication on social network relies on several kinds of media, video, picture or text for instance. These allow users to be only watcher or listener. On the other hand, VR can reach further than that, by expanding user engagement ability. VR would create the second world, which is able to response to users actions,through a particular goggles device. Applying this concept to social network, users would be able to communicate with their friends by body language, rather than only text and voice. They can create and participate virtual physical activities, sports and recreation activities, with their friends which is almost the same as they do in the real world.

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     On the other hand, VR also brings challenges to social networks. As we know that virtual world is mainly created by computer program. This means any kind of human identity can be reproduced in the virtual world. It leads to a question related to human identity, Do individuals have right on their real world identity in virtual world? By the reason that real world  identity can be reproduced in virtual world, which means anyone can reproduce other identity in virtual world. To make this idea clearer, imagine that the situation has 2 guys, A and B. Both of them do not know each other. In one day, A creates his virtual avatar by using identity of B, whether it is an accident. Everything that A’s avatar, which is covered by identity of B, do in virtual world can be misleadingly perceived as an action from B, even B does not participate in virtual world at all. In conclusion, identity would be challenging issue from this technology.

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Current situation

4 months ago, OCULUS was acquired by social network main player, Facebook. This can be predicted that VR technology will be developed and introduced to social network in up coming future. This emerging can bring benefits and challenges to social network, for both users and service providers. It can create new experience of using social network, enhance user engagement. However, It also raises a question toward virtual identity, which can relate to individual identity in the real world.

Pasit Sararueangpong

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