The story of my (second) life...
When I first started using Internet, my only purpose was to go to some chatrooms. At this time, my father was very precautious of the security and he did not want me to give an email adress to anyone (and we just had a common adress for the family). I got bored by this chatrooms very quick but a friend of mine made me play online with him, and a few years later, I have to admit that I had become an addict online gamer. I was spending more and more time on the Internet, I understood it much better and I had met a lot on people online. I was using a pseudonym but I did not really mind telling my real name to anyone who would ask me.
I think my behaviour online was very different than in life, and it was very true with this particular friends. We were in the same class, he was very outstanding, talked to everyone and I was more shy. At nights, when we were playing online the roles were in the other way. The fact of being a player was getting me confident, I was in a team, had a lot of "friends" and even if it can sound weird, I was very respected just because of being a "good" player.. However, from all these people I knew online, I finally met two, and they were very different than online, and now I would say that they would have never become my friends outside of the game.
I lost every contacts with people of this community as soon as I stopped playing.
At this time, I wasn't really paying attention at my identity online, about how much I wanted these people to know me etc... It totally different by now. All my accounts on the different sites (facebook, myspace...) are generally private, and I'm not looking forward meeting people on Internet. I use these websites to stay in contact with the people I already know.. However, I never had a problem about giving out photos of me. I don't really think that I lose a part of intimacy by doing that, people don't know anything about me seeing a picture... it's like seeing someone in the street.
I discovered Second Life a few weeks ago, on the French tv news. A candidat for the election had created on office on the website for her campaign, but I did not it before..
Ironically, the news network talked about second life tonight again, I watched it just before writing this. (If you're interested, and if you understand French, or want to practice, go to this link : http://jt.france2.fr/20h/ and watch the edition of "Mardi 30 Janvier".)
I have checked the community website and I don't think I would like to have an account. Maybe I should try to see how it really works, but I am always on a quite defensive posture about these "social networks". It took me two years to be convinced by Myspace, so maybe I'll change my mind. I find a bit ridiculous all the people defending these websites because of their abilities to make you interact with so many people, to help socializing etc... As Turkle says, on page 178 "many of the institutions that used to bring people together no longer work as before. Many people spend most of their day alone at the screen of a tv or of a computer".
I have five roomates and sometimes, we are all on our computers, each one in his room, socializing with the whole world, but not talking to the one next door.
I think people (me included) should try to take care of their own life before trying to reach to any kind of fame or accomplishment online.