So, I’ll be honest. Second Life has always kind of weirded me out. I mean that in no disrespect to people that use, it’s just not my thing. That being said, I went into the experience with as much of an open mind as possible seeing as it was for research and not for personal use.
From an ethnographic standpoint, Second Life is actually very interesting to me. I have to say, the whole concept of it is pretty fascinating. Although I chose an avatar pretty similar to me, you can really live a whole separate “life” as whoever you want to be. People go shopping, get married, have kids. Everything you can do in the real world. Everything. There are even tons of different subcultures (some of those I discovered pretty quickly as I went into an entire spanish speaking area). The reading even referenced $1,000,000 of economic activity everyday.. What I was perhaps most interested to learn is that Linden Lab does nothing more than provide the basic elements- land, sky, and a few building blocks. Everything else is built by the people that use it. Similar to the real world (although humans can’t fly… dang it). So in essence Linden Lab plays a bit of a God-like role, no?
While I found it interesting that the author addressed the term “real life” and “virtual world” as implying technology makes life less real, I still am concerned with where the lines blur. My interest lies in how those using this program are impacted in what I consider the “real world.” For example, are you cheating on your husband if you marry someone in Second Life? How does that impact your relationship? And what is the appeal is. Although I’m sure it varies from person to person, is this to be used as an escape from a (perhaps troubling) real life?