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Are you stuck in the MUD?

I try to keep my online identity true to who I really am. I have no desire to create different online personalities for myself. I think that it is dishonest to represent yourself as something that you are not. When it comes to blogs, messengers, e-mail addresses and other online forums I generally do not use my full real name, I usually use just my first name (with some numbers or another word) or I’ll use a pseudonym that represents who I am. I chose not to use an avatar, nor do I have the desire to do so. If I had to make an avatar for myself I would make it to resemble myself, which would be a twenty-something white girl, and from the sounds of things that is pretty common. Ho do you know whose avatars really represent them or if their avatar represents the person they wish they were?

I personally don’t really understand the point of virtual worlds. I have friends that are obsessed with them, but it seems like a waste of time and money to me. I have a hard enough time paying rent to spend my money in virtual realities. If I have extra money I’m going to spend it in this reality! But there must be something cool about it since according to the Second Life website over three million people have joined since 2003. If you haven’t done so already check out the “police blotter? I found it pretty amusing!

With so many people already wrapped up in these virtual worlds it is a little bit disturbing to think about the quote at the end of Kirkpatrick’s article: “virtual worlds are where video and VCRs were in the early 1980s, or where the Web was in 1993" (Kirkpatrick, p. 3). If this is only the beginning, I don’t even want to think about where it is going to end up.

Comments

I agree with you on your last comment "If this is only the beginning, I don’t even want to think about where it is going to end up."

It doesn't seem that long ago that I was a rebelling teenager, but now, at 30 and pregnant, I am beginning to worry about the world my children are going to live in.
How much of their online use will I have to monitor?

Will they spend all of their allowance on land in a virtual world? How will they separate fantasy and reality?

Like you, I am very honest about my identity. That's one of the reasons I never tried on line dating. While I do not judge those that do (several of my friends are on eharmony), it's a personal preference. I would be skeptical whether or not my potential new mate was upfront and honest with me.

Good post.

Julie

I agree with you that making a faulse online identity is wrong and also dishonest, however the problem is with security and online hackers and such. Giving too much information about yourself and your "true" identity is really something that many people just don't do and I don't know when it all got started where not being who you really are became the norm.

I also agree with you about the understanding of virtual worlds, I have no need for them, nor have I really experienced them, I did however check out Second Life's virtual world, it was really boring too me. And to think that people not only spend a lot of time in them, they also spend a lot of money buying up virtual property and things like that. That's seems crazy too me.

Hi Nicole
When we enter a virtual world, nothing is guaranteed. What seems obvious at first could be a complete misdirect. Until this class I didn't know the depth of these "other worlds". My 12 year old purchased a SIMS game for the computer. It is a single player game and he is in the process of setting up his town. Add a dimension of other players and it becomes very complicated. Now he is asking to join a site called penguins. For a fee, he can acquire items for his penguins igloo. He is interacting with many people, similar to SL. I told him he would have to wait a while before I allowed him to interact online with strangers. Even if the site monitors the activity, there can always be something that can go wrong. I too am amazed at the popularity of the virtual worlds. I'd rather spend my money in the real world but that is just a personal opinion.

Good post

Mike

I agree with what everyone else has said about preferring to spend their time and money more immersed in the real world rather than a virtual one. It just seems like the rewards for spending money in such a way are very distant thus seemingly non-existant, except maybe for companies setting up shops in Second Life. I didn't get on the system and create my own account, but from looking at the websites, and one video in particular that shows the making of a guitar in Second Life, it appeared that to make anything requires a great knowledge of how to do it, which (along with the notoriously clunky interface) makes me think that Second Life is more fit for web designers and developers than for the majority of people who use it to talk to others.

You mentioned that you don't have enough money for the things that you want in "real life", and so couldn't imagine wasting your money on "non-real" items. I found this interesting, because in one of the readings an interviewee describe how much they enjoyed creating or acquiring things in a MUD, exactly because they could barely acquire things in "real life". I think that this points to a fundamental difference between you and that person, namely that virtual items aren't real enough, or useful enough to you, to have value for you, whereas for him, such items do have value.

I think that this distinction will fade away as computers and virtual items become even more ubiquitous. For example, imagine 30 or 40 years ago when there were very few people who would actually consider spending money on computer software: such a product didn't "really" exist, and was of use to only a few experts. Now the vast majority of people have spent money of virtual items (for example, the OS you run on your machine), and think nothing of it. In the future, data residing in simulations might come to have as much value as software does today.