Sunday, April 15, 2007

Alexandra Seppala’s Reading Diary

"FBI Probes Second Life Gambling"

My first reaction to this article was to question why the FBI would be concerned with gambling in an imaginary world that seems to have no real consequences. However, when I read halfway down the article and found that the Linden dollar was made freely exchangeable for real money, the investigation made sense. In making the Linden dollar exchangeable, the make believe gambling world of SL transforms into reality. If online gambling sites have been banned, it seems acceptable that SL’s policy of exchanging the Linden dollar should at least be banned as well. I believe gambling in SL is perfectly fine as long as it doesn’t transcend the MUD world.

"Profitable Resident Growth Hits Record Pace"

I don’t really understand the importance of tracking the cash flow of users in SL. In accordance with real life standards of wealth, SL users seem to be making close to nothing.

"Virtual Reality TV: Big Brother to Launch in SL"

I think that the SL version of Big Brother will be incredibly popular and it is a very cool idea to run reality TV in SL. Yet, I also think that the implementation of such entertainment in SL will add to the danger of users being addicted to the MUD world. If everything that is popular in real life becomes available in SL, why would users ever leave their imaginary worlds?

"Charity Raises Funds with Homeless Avatar"

The idea of creating an avatar for charity is amazing. I think this use of the program is the best one I’ve encountered. This proves that having the Linden dollar be exchangeable for real money has a positive consequence in the real world.

"The Grid Review Brings Animated Newscasts to Second Life"

The initiation of casting the news in SL is another very interesting and appealing idea, but again it makes me question the addictive ability of this alternate universe. As SL continues to introduce more real life elements, users will have fewer and fewer needs that actually must be addressed outside SL.

"Study on Second Life and the Pursuit of Happiness"

It makes sense that people who are popular and outgoing and have plenty of friends in real life would have the same experience in SL. However, I don’t understand why this type of person would want to spend time in SL and if their time spent in SL would hinder their real life popularity. I was under the impression that users of SL prefer the imaginary universe of this program over real life, so I’m confused by the findings of this study. Maybe my assumptions are wrong.

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