I thought your essay was very informative, but confusing at times. I agree that collaborative virtual environments and the transformed social interaction theory are way greater than videoconferencing. I agree that videoconferencing can be a lot harder than a conversation with avatars in a room. There are only a certain amount of people that can fit in a videoconference, especially if each person wants to be seen. It would be very hard to have eye contact in a videoconference, let alone watch each person. When there is a room full of avatars however everyone can see one another and conversations can be had. In the virtual world of second life, my class and I have meetings once a week and have to work with one another. I think find it easier to communicate there, as opposed to the classroom because I can see all my classmates on my computer and can go back into our conversations at any time.
I think that the transformed social interaction theory is something that works very well for communication in a virtual context. Through sensory abilities we can see what each person is doing and saying. Making them present in conversation and physically (in the virtual world). Situational context can help us to see the virtual geography of where we are. In Second Life people can see what is around them, and if they are in the same place as another user they can see the same settings in the place they are. Through self representation people can appear how they want and speak about whatever they want. Each person is visible and can be perceived however they would like by other users. I think that these aspects help to better understand the place in which all users are and I think this theory supports that.