Thursday, July 05, 2007

SecondLife like a holodeck in miniature

With all the flurry of activities lately focused on SecondLife I decided I’d better finally give in and give it a try. Now, I think I’m doomed!!! I blew away five hours yesterday morning without hardly realizing it!

I also discovered it’s a little scary psychologically speaking. I’ve been “invisible” so long that I am now uncertain what to do now that I have a young body again in SecondLife and men suddenly take an interest in talking to me. I hope I can keep conversations on a totally intellectual level. I don’t want to give anyone the wrong impression. This environment could have real implications for psychologists wishing to study human interaction because you can edit your avatar anytime you wish or totally transform into a completely different ethnicity, gender, etc. with the click of the mouse. And, as I have already observed in my brief time there, other people’s reactions change accordingly. Throw in the tendency for some people to ignore social graces in the online environment and you have a potentially volatile combination.

There are six rules that apply to SecondLife meant to minimize social havoc but there are always those people who are looking for ways around the rules. I was in Help Island and a man walked in without anything on but body tattoos even though the rules clearly state nudity is prohibited in areas not marked as mature. He was probably an experienced resident who created a new account with a custom avatar and was prancing around just to see how long he could get away with it.

However, SecondLife is exciting – like a holodeck in miniature. There are interesting places to go and beautiful environments to enjoy. There is a list of educational sites and I saw that the Weather Service has built a simulation where you can experience what it is like to fly a plane through a hurricane. Now if I can just get my nerve up enough to teleport to the mainland!

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