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A Second Identity for Second Life

I began using the internet by way of America Online when I was in middle school. For awhile I would spend time in chatrooms since they were so easily available on the interface. I don't really remember which rooms I frequented more than others, unless I chose by location. For the most part, I didn't change any aspects of myself to better express them online, but I do think I remember lying about personal aspects a few times. I suppose I did so because I was able to, and it caused me to avoid topics I didn't want to get into, and maybe even to make the person more interested in talking to me. I never spent a whole lot of time on the chatrooms, though, and once our America Online subscription ended and we were off to another service, my chatroom use ended with it, much like Robert from the reading (Turkle, 202). These days I just chat online with people I already know so in a way i'ts more personal, but at the same time, beyond talking to those people online I really don't put much at all of my personal self online. I generally keep a fairly close profile online, kind of like I do in real life.

In looking at the Second Life page, the metaverse seems like an interesting place to explore, and its users obviously have created a sense of community there, but I have trouble seeing the appeal of it, beyond the novelty of exploring the universe and talking with other users. The most curious aspect of Second Life to me is that users pay for items for their avatars, something that the user him or herself won't ever be able to hold. However, I do see the purpose of shopping for real items on the system, something which is doubtlessly going to take hold as Kirkpatrick mentioned its "huge opportunities to sell products and services." The way Second Life is described makes it seem like something of a recreation of real life without any real improvement over real life. Once on this train of thought its hard to divert it from thoughts of Turkle's interviews, and what effectsthat programs like Second Life can have on and what purposes they serve our mental well being.