People participate in online communities for a myriad of reasons, including social support, finding and maintaining friendships, and exploring facets of their identity. Additionally, and importantly, these online communities can be places for people to spend their leisure time and have fun. In our research, we explore how different playful communities leverage technology, such as social media, as a place for support and care. In this talk, I present two case studies that will explore some of this research including a community for autistic youth that uses Minecraft and the musicians BTS’s fandom community, ARMY, that uses a myriad of social media. I will discuss how playfulness on social technology holds a key role in facilitating access to community support and can bridge virtual and physical worlds in everyday life.
This seminar is co-organized with UW CREATE.
Kathryn (Kate) Ringland is an Assistant Professor at the University of California Santa Cruz. She received her Ph.D. in Informatics from the University of California Irvine. Her areas of interest include human computer interaction, games studies, and critical disability studies. She is interested in understanding how disabled individuals playfully leverage social media and game spaces to help create access in their online and offline interactions.