Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Got a Life? The assumption of the pathetic in Second Life

Howard Rhiengold in Tokyo

The assumption of the pathetic in Second Life

When I first started this project I blogged it along with a photographer I work with on Flickr. The Flickr blog contains photos taken around the world, many of the photos I worked as an assistant in. The blog shows our voyages around the world.

When we posted this blog a number of people responded how pathetic Rober1236 Jua must have been wasting his time in SL. They compared him to the people who produced the Flickr blog who travelled the world. Thing is you see they are the same person.

The RL me has travelled the world several times. Many of the things the interest me most in Second Life is I meet people from and see things from places I have been to.

But why is there a cultural myth that people who are interested in Virtual Reality can not have a real life? This myth was carried out in South Park, where people who play virtual reality give up their real life and people who have real lives can’t play in virtual reality. Funny but the formal is a bit strange.

As the cyber sociologists Rheingold point out what makes Virtual Reality interesting for many is the intensity of social interactions. It is not unusual for me in an hour in Second Life to talk to 5 or 6 people in different parts of the world. And not just IM chat but to explore places and exchange artefacts.

Last times I remember being labelled a social loser like this was in High School for reading books and in my 20s for going on the Internet. I guess when popular culture assumes you are pathetic you are on to something great.
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