Starting Second Life

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?

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8 Responses to Starting Second Life

  1. That’s the issue it hit for me. Sure, you can have a full second life, but then you lose that time in the real world. Or a marriage in there might impact the real world marriage. I guess the problem is, you really only have so much time, for one life.

  2. alanyskpl says:

    I agree on your views on Second Life. My view was also how it could potentially affect your “real life.” I would be greatly upset if my future husband spent more time with his Second Life “wife” and “kids” than me. Could people potentially fall in love with a virtual avatar? The thought itself creeps me out. From a research standpoint, it was very interesting to me too that Linden Lab charges for the “premium account” almost as if your buying another life.

    • Emily Davis says:

      Yes, agreed on the wife and kids point. I might feel differently if the person was unmarried and had no children, but I’m not sure that you can experience real love with an avatar.

  3. I’m glad you pointed out the Linden Lab-God role, and also the economic activity. I was amazed that there are people with full-time jobs from virtual-cum-actual ventures, and more amazed that people are putting so much time and money toward their second lives, when my first life is definitely enough for me. (I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when you found the Spanish-speaking area. Oh, wait, maybe I was…..)

    • Emily Davis says:

      Ha, yes, I’m pretty sure someone was yelling at me in spanish and I couldn’t figure out how to get out of the room. It was a stressful moment. Also- glad I’m not the only one that considered the God role.

  4. I like what Chris said, Second Life is fine, just like playing video games and doing other things leisurely is good and great, but I don’t even have time to watch TV so it’s hard for me to relate to. I can see if someone lived by themselves and HAD a lot of spare time, then… hey, why not? but I think you’d feel more fulfilled by redirecting your own life.

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