Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Real World vs. Virtual World

Dear Mr. Boellstorff,
            I enjoyed your research of virtual worlds because they are new and diverse places. These virtual worlds have opened up a lot of comfort and freedom for people who might be too shy to DJ in real life, but they can DJ as their Second Life character. Places like Second Life and other virtual worlds have become more than virtual spaces online, but more of online communities that are diverse and engaging. As you said, sociality in real life is no comparison or explanation of what occurs in the virtual world. I think that is an important facet in why these virtual worlds are being studied, because the differences in actions of people are astounding when compared. Some people really do come into themselves in Second Life and are very social, having hundreds of friends online but are very shy in person and have only a small set of friends in actuality.
            Because you incorporate the actual world into your research, it poses the questions of how much of actual life is in the virtual world. I think that there is so much of actual world in places like Second Life, because you can visit actual places. I have a Second Life account for my class and we go to school there, it has its own little Rutgers area, but while it does have easily identifiable places like grease trucks and the football stadium, it is not actually like going to Rutgers. The area in comparison with real world Rutgers is very miniscule and the areas and compiled together, versus in real life where the buildings are not even on the same campuses. The cultures between the two worlds seem to be much different from films I have seen, what I’ve read of yours and other writers, as well as my own personal experience there. In virtual worlds there is anonymity that allows for freedom of the users, they can look however they want and act however they want as well. The repercussions of their actions are not felt in their real life, so in theory you can get away with much more in virtual worlds than you ever could in real life. My first time in Second Life, I was just exploring a city area when I noticed someone randomly dancing and as soon as they saw me, they started dancing towards me and I immediately teleported out of there because I thought it was really weird for them to just try and dance with me. Things like that may be accepted in virtual culture, but in my real world culture that is not considered normal behavior.

Ana Luisa Suarez

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