Leisure Time on Virtual World; A Battlefield to Create Virtual Capital

Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Location: Dachgeschoss (Juridicum)
Distributed Paper
Abbas FAGHIH KHORASANI, University of Tehran, Iran
Taking selfies of most personal moments and publishing them on Instagram has posed a serious question: Is there any leisure time left or the newfound virtual world has converted it to a battlefield of gaining more likes for our photos. Instagram is currently accessible in Iran. A simple cellphone camera is used to create “virtual capital” while achieving “real capital” in rigid and systematic structures of the real world is very difficult.

In this study, I have divided leisure times into 2 categories:

1-    Active Leisure time: Time that is spent for increasing the virtual capital and using its real benefits by taking photos and films and publishing them on virtual world and gaining more likes. Creative presence on virtual world is also considered as leisure time.

2-     Passive leisure time: Time spent as a passive observer to read or watch other materials on virtual world. In the passive leisure time, we are unwilling to create virtual capital or to create external opportunity for future benefits on virtual world.

I created a page on Instagram (@ba2charkhe) for this study. I asked my followers to ride bicycles in their leisure times, take photos of their cycling moments and send them to me to be published online. A prize was announced to be awarded to those photos that gained more likes. In a short time, this became so popular that I gained approximately 10000 followers in 6 weeks.

This fieldwork of mine is for online observation of behaviors of those who use their leisure times to create virtual capital and to turn it into a real capital. I am going to generalize this case study to the total field of leisure time: Leisure time has been turned into a battlefield to create virtual capital. The method of my research is virtual ethnography.