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Is there life on the Web?

How the internet has grown...from dial-up to broadband we are now moving into the realm of creating new identities for ourselves. While I have not taken the opportunity to engage in teh world of Second Life. I can see why so many people have. It is interesting how we portray ourselves on the internet. We change our looks and identities to something we are not and believe that this will make us feel like we are something different. As I stated before I do nto participate in Second Life or WoW, however, I contribute to things online and never use my real name. I always use pseudonyms that if someone looekd hard enough, they could figure out my name birthday or my home address. I know some people that use avatars that look exactly like them. It is actually scary to see this because we could run into someone we have not seen in years on the web. The only way I have dealt with the issue of Second Life and WoW (World of Warcraft) is through my roommates constant play. They have failed classes, lost jobs, and are struggling to be social anymore. I occasionaly play games on the internet, but not to the extent of Second Life, however, as Gurak puts it, "these sites reflect an anger and disempowerment that have become noticeable in the United States."(54). Some of the things I see on the Net and the rage that people have toward each other makes me question whether having a second life online is a good idea?

From looking at the Second Life sites I am amazed how successful it has been. From the amount of money that it has made to the possibilities that it holds. One can form friendships, build a blogging site, and form romantic relationships. The site makes sure to continually update to keep their Lifers happy and actually publish a guide that will help people be more successful in Second Life. It is even changing the way people do business. ""We're all used to teleconferences," says Hughes. "But in Second Life we gather and mingle before the meeting, and when it finishes, some people stop and talk again. We start to form social networks and the kinds of bonds you make in real life." (Kirkpatrick). From looking at the sites and the readings I believe that Second Life is a positive thing. However, if peolple become too involved and detatch from reality will there be anyone that will stop thinking about making money and help?

Comments

As we see the growth of MUD's, how long before we see online college courses using these 3d internet sites? I can see in the near future students going to a virtual classroom for virtual tests and lessons.

Mike

And I'm already having trouble keeping my lessons straight in this class. Glad I'm almost out of school. Nothing can replace face-to-face communication and I hope leaders of institutions and business, and people in general remember this.

I found it interesting that you commented on the effects that the constant playing of games such as SL and WoW has on people. I thought that the articles did not focus enough on how the SL and MUDs players deal with school work and jobs. Some of the people that are addicted to such games play for 12 hours or more at a time, and my question is how do they support themselves? I know that some of them get paid by working on the MUDs program, but still, I would think that they need to be able to support themselves and their addiction to virtual reality games.

I think that with the creation of SL, there will be more people addicted to virtual communities, especially since they can make real money off it. SL definitely has raised the bar on virtual community games and will have more people addicted to it than MUDs. SL makes the virtual reality more like real reality by implementing things like money and buying, selling, and renting of virtual space. Depending on how you look at it, this creation could be either totally genius, or disasterous on people's face-to-face social interactions.

I don't think that MUD's will cause people to detatch from reality more than anything that has been around for a while. While I see MUD's growing in popularity, I don't think that an online life will eliminate the need for a normal life as well.

Also, I was thinking about the same thing that Mike posted. I too can see future students using a virtual classroom. Classes like this one are only a step away.

You bring up a good point with the amount of anger people tend to have against other people in real life, and I think that problem can be magnified online since people hide behind these anonymous online identities. No one knows who you are, so it's easier to be mean without the fear of any real social consequences. I think people need to realize that there are other people behind those other online identites who have real feelings as well.