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Success Through Collaboration: What the Players of World of Warcraft Can Teach Us About Knowledge Production and Sharing in Virtual Communities

Author(s): Tammy Ann Whynot

Journal: Dalhousie Journal of Interdisciplinary Management
ISSN 1923-6530

Volume: 7;
Issue: 2;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Virtual Communities | Knowledge Production | Social Capital | Social Exchange | Social Orientation | World of Warcraft | Social Networks

As of October 1, 2010, 12 million subscribers around the world play massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft (WoW). Outside of the formal framework of the game, players have established a flourishing network for the creation and sharing of knowledge. Motivations for playing the game may appear obvious—as a game, it is a form of recreation or entertainment—but why do players step outside the game world to participate in knowledge production? To this end, theories of social capital, social exchange, and social orientation offer insight and explanation. Using the WoW community as a case study, this paper illustrates how virtual communities produce and exchange knowledge through strong, voluntary, social bonds. It is also demonstrated that as a result of these activities, broader goals are met and success is achieved.
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