I started out doing academic work in 2000 when I was recruited to a research project as a research assistant. This project was a joint collaboration between Speech Communication, Computer Sciences, and Psychology, and was my first venture into both larger research projects and cooperation with companies (the project funding came from an IT/telecommunications firm). I think that my interest in technologically mediated communication and computer-mediated communication (CMC) arose at that time, and it is a road I have been at least partly on ever since.
My M.A. thesis looked at the communicative practices related to IT use in families with adolescents, and my PhD thesis completed in 2007 concentrated on the social dynamics of voluntary online gaming communities (or clans, guilds, orgs, take your pick). For those interested, my PhD thesis is freely available online at: https://jyx.jyu.fi/dspace/handle/123456789/13444 It is interesting that my work ended up being about the only one in existence that looked at a specific game, Anarchy Online.
Later on I have branched out into the realm of online cooperation and collaboration in working life contexts, as well as issues of intercultural communication and the interplay between journalism and games. See, for example, our research project blog about newsgames at uutispelit.wordpress.com (in Finnish).
Recently I have been involved in a research project dealing with interpersonal communication in virtual teams (InViTe), as well as a large research consortium between three Finnish universities titled Ludification and the Emergence of Playful Culture (Ludic). The latter one was later on expanded into a full-blown Centre of Excellence on Game Culture Studies.
I feel that we humans are in the midst of a profound change in the way we connect to each other and work together as a networked entity. While we can see glimpses of it now, and try to understand it, it will take at least a couple of hundred years until there is sufficient perspective to look back in time and see what was going on. Still, it is fun to try to make sense of the world in which we live in, which to me is the primary reason for being involved in research!