Re: [xmca] Lessons in Second Life

Date: Tue Jul 22 2008 - 02:48:50 PDT

Andy B wrote:

>I signed up for Second Life to try participating in this,
> but could not figure out how to find this place.
> Really mucks with my head this thing. I have never used chat
> rooms of anything like that. It is just so real. I react to
> people there just like real people but I feel childish. :(
> Andy


Your feelings of dislocation are, in my experience, typical. You are, after
all, simultaneously in two spaces (places?) with two identities. SL is real
in the sense that real world interactions and transactions can take place
there that could not take place in the same way or at all without the
virtual environment - ranging from shopping for virtual clothes to
international protest. It is familiar and unfamiliar at the same time e.g. a
physical landscape but one where one can fly and distance is dissolved. The
people*are* real but with additional layers of mediation (they have to obey
the dictates of SL as environment and social location), identity and real
presence, perhaps like a chat room but also with a physical component (cases
of sexual harassment have been reported in SL).

I'm not sure whether the dislocation is just particularly sharp for
beginners or whether it fades for those who become totally immersed in SL
for whom it really becomes a second life so that they take the weirdness for
granted. Either way lots of material for CHAT to deal with.

The political economy and governance of SL are also interesting. Linden Labs
issues its own currency and makes its own rules. How these corresponds to
21st century financial and consumer capitalism is another interesting topic.


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Received on Tue Jul 22 02:46 PDT 2008

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