31 July 2007

Getting a Second Life

How can we know what we think about games, virtual worlds, and technologies unless we play, right? That was the overarching theme at TechSource and since every other session discussed the importance of Second Life, I thought I would give it a go.

I spent two hours getting my avatar dressed.


And frankly, that was enough for me. I decided to be a buff, black woman with purple hair. And I loved making that decision.

And while I still haven't made it off the Orientation Island yet, and honestly am not sure if I will have the time to do so over the next week, I think my experience dressing my avatar touches on the very essence and purpose of this virtual world. It was empowering to decide how I would appear in this world. It was a chance to try something new, to experiment, to imagine, to be something other than me. I can understand the attraction, especially to teens who are struggling to identify who "me" is in this world.

But that is the part that continues to bother me. The idea that more time is spent being someone you wish you were rather than developing or working on who you actually are, or are becoming, is disconcerting, especially among young people, but also for adults. I fully support exploration, reinvention, dreams, wishes...anyone who knows me, knows that I am a dreamer. But the creation of an alternate reality seems self indulgent, at least at first glance. Perhaps one might argue that you will be more extroverted in SecondLife than you are in real life. But if you aren't taking that forthrightness and bringing it out into the real world, then so what?

Perhaps my perspective on Second Life will change once I figure out how to get off the Orientation Island. But I must admit, I am skeptical and feeling like it is a great procrastination tool. Frankly, I barely have time to enjoy or maintain my first life, why do I need a second one?

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