Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Free Yourself or Lose Yourself?

Second Life seems to me to be more of a game than a social media outlet. As I was reading, I kind of thought of it as a more advanced version of the Sims. I understand that it does have some educational or social purposes, but it seems like it is used largely as a gaming center.

I had never heard of Second Life before reading about it in New New Media. I went on the website to try to figure out if it is any different from how it is portrayed in the book and I came upon a "What is Second Life?" video. You can watch it here. I think it is interesting what the text at the bottom of the screen says as it scrolls through the video. "A place to connect, to shop, to work, to love, to explore, to be different, be yourself, free yourself, free your mind, change your mind, change your look, love your look, love your life".

I don't think that this promotes healthy online behavior. I think that people can probably get carried away in this "Second Life" and forget about reality. Instead of people doing all of those things in real life, they just get their fix by doing it in a fake world, spending fake money and interacting with fake people. Even though there is a real person behind each fake one, that just means the problem is two-fold.


  1. One thing that is definitely problematic about getting so connected to the people in a virtual world like Second Life is that you don't know who the people really are. As Dr. Levinson mentions, the man you are talking to may not really be a man and the girl who says she is 28 might actually be 14. Remembering that discretion is needed when interacting with people online can definitely remove yourself from the experience and bring you back to reality.

  2. I feel like it is both unhealthy and somewhat scary that people not only could become addicted to the game and prefer it over real life, but they could ultimately become addicted to pretending to be someone else and fostering relationships through that new character. Once this person comes back to reality, he or she might try to act as the avatar who could be rude, a criminal, maybe the nicest person in the world, but it wouldn't be his or her true self.

  3. Second Life does seem to bring us closer to gaming than many other social media, closer to The Sims, and World of Warcraft for that matter, but there are gaming elements in other social media, as well as unhealthy aspects.