Monday, February 27, 2012

It's all about Timing

Dear Mr. Boellstorff,

I think that it is very ambitious of you to take on the task of studying virtual worlds. Since it is such a new part of our culture there is continuous change that forces people to act certain ways. These swings can effect research and make it difficult to get solid data. I think people want to study these areas of society because they are so new and so unique. Never before have humans had a place to go that is not real but is a space to interact with others…anonymously.
These worlds, especially Second-Life are becoming more than just virtual places. They have been turned into a cultural center for SL users to interact, travel, and make money. As you said, “Actual-world sociality cannot explain virtual-world sociality.” I believe that this is the main reason why these virtual worlds need to be studied. There is a concept about Second Life that encourages users to use real life as only a foundation for virtual life. I believe that this makes studying virtual worlds rewarding.
The actual-world facet of your research creates a very interesting yet relatable question for anyone. How does actual-life affect virtual-life? There is really no one better able to answer that question than the user’s of SL who develop the landscape and culture that makes up the SL world. But a conclusion of how a virtual world relates with the physical world is hard to make should not be rushed to. I like to think of it as more of an open-ended problem and the answer depends on the constantly moving timeline of virtual culture and not the more concrete timeline of the physical world.

Andrew Kerth

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