The Future of Pixels and Policy: Expanding and Refocusing on Analytical Research

It's rare a blog gets to say it will be reducing its publication rate due to an excess of success, but I'm proud to say this is the case for Pixels and Policy.

As readers know, I recently took up the position of Editorial Coordinator for the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research. This position, though demanding, is a great privilege and a chance to help publicize some of the best virtual worlds research out there. It's published work from a wide range of professionals including Robert Bloomfield of Metanomics, Garrison LeMasters, Edward Castronova, and Dor Abrahamson.

I love the work and feel it will result in a much better product coming from Pixels and Policy, both in the form of guest pieces from established researchers and in the form of a renewed look at our analytical style and focus. Since its inception, Pixels and Policy has been about innovation and staying ahead of the curve. I intend to keep the blog fresh and novel with periodic facelifts and new features.

What readers may not know is that the success of Pixels and Policy's research and engaging articles goes well beyond features in the BBC's Magazine Monitor, Foreign Policy in Focus, Truthout, and other news and research organizations. Pixels and Policy's unique approach to analyzing how virtual worlds are affecting our real-world public policy and international relations was integral in my application packet to The George Washington University's prestigious School of Media and Public Affairs.

I'm proud to say The George Washington University sees as much potential in Pixels and Policy and the role of new media in setting policy agendas as I do. I'll be joining their fantastic team both as a student in the Media and Public Affairs program and as a research assistant to a professor and long-time advocate of the role of media's influence – both old and new forms – on the international relations scene. 

This offers unique opportunities for Pixels and Policy, but it does come at a cost. As a result of my work both with The George Washington University and the Journal of Virtual World Studies, in addition to other concerns, I've decided the best course of action is to scale Pixels and Policy back to publication three times per week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday instead of our current six times per week. This will provide the time necessary to write deeper, more analytical pieces that do justice to the blog's original mission of shedding light on the growing importance of virtual worlds and digital communication in the business and policy spheres.

Pixels and Policy isn't going away. In fact, it's in a stronger position than ever to bring together a wide range of industry and academic voices. This is already underway, with recent guest pieces by everyone from virtual world entrepreneurs Ariella Furman, Pooky Amsterdam and Gary Arthur Douglas II to planned pieces from educators making use of virtual world technology to bridge the achievement gap in troubled schools. Pixels and Policy will even be adding a new regular columnist and a junior researcher, finally allowing me to use the royal "we" that is the symbol of so much P&P controversy.

I look forward to continuing this journey with you, and as always, I invite your questions or comments. Feel free to leave them in the comments section of the blog, or shoot an e-mail directly to me at I'd love to hear your thoughts about the downshift in publication frequency.

Pixels and Policy Joins the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research Editorial Team!


Building and Rebuilding an Idea

Between the unsolicited article submissions we receive, our current backlog of guest bloggers, and the work Pixels and Policy puts into providing thought-provoking and useful information about the interplay of virtual worlds and our daily lives, we've had precious little time to sit down and take everything in. 

Pixels and Policy is rapidly outgrowing its original site layout – we've already updated and upgraded once to deal with traffic and content management issues – but we continue to provide the kind of research and analysis that finds interested readers at organizations like The Markle Foundation and Congressional Quarterly's Homeland Security newsletter.

That said, it comes as a serendipitous surprise to announce that Pixels and Policy will be partnering with the Virtual Worlds Institute, publisher of the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research.  

The great team over at JVWR is headed by Jeremiah Spence, a great academic mind and the Editor of the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research. Jeremiah's great journal has published forward-thinking work by everyone from Metanomics' Robert Bloomfield to Indiana University virtual world researcher Edward Castronova. Its editorial team carts out great thinkers and writers like NOAA's Eric Hackathorn (Hackshaven Hartford) and Garrison LeMasters of Georgetown University. Now we're proud to say Pixels and Policy joins this great group of individuals.

Our partnership with the Virtual Worlds Institute will result in a better experience for Pixels and Policy readers. Not only will our content be migrating to a larger server with better features, you can also expect another – even better – website redesign coming in the future. Pixels and Policy Editor Max Burns will also be joining the staff of the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research as Editorial Coordinator in the coming weeks, expanding Pixels and Policy's initial mission even more.

Pixels and Policy has always been about exploring how virtual worlds are changing the way we conduct public discourse, formulate public policy, and live our daily lives. By partnering with the Virtual Worlds Institute, Pixels and Policy gains access to the resources necessary to dig even deeper into stories and events that often go overlooked in the mainstream media. 

We hope you'll check out the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research and its top-tier writing, as well as staying tuned to the improvements and changes we have in store for Pixels and Policy. Thanks again for keeping us running these first six months.