Strong communities are important for society. One of the most important community builders, making friends, is poorly supported online. Dating sites support it but in romantic contexts. Other major social networks seem not to encourage it because either their purpose isn't compatible with introducing strangers or the prevalent methods of introduction aren't effective enough to merit use over real word alternatives. This paper presents a novel digital social network emphasizing creating friendships. Research has shown video chat communication can reach in-person levels of trust; coupled with a game environment to ease the discomfort people often have interacting with strangers and a recommendation engine, Zazzer, the presented system, allows people to meet and get to know each other in a manner much more true to real life than traditional methods. Its network also allows players to continue to communicate afterwards. The evaluation looks at real world use, measuring the frequency with which players choose the video chat game versus alternative, more traditional methods of online introduction. It also looks at interactions after the initial meeting to discover how effective video chat games are in creating sticky social connections. After initial use it became apparent a critical mass of users would be necessary to draw strong conclusions, however the collected data seemed to give preliminary support to the idea that video chat games are more effective than traditional ways of meeting online in creating new relationships.
- Zazzer: forming friendships on digital social networks
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Statement of Responsibility
by Asael Sorensen