Monday, April 16, 2007

Reading Journal

Virtual Community

This article went a long way in helping to explain the nature of MUDs. It pointed out both the good and the bad, along with a brief description of the potential origins of MUDs. I think how the programs were initially started could prove to be very useful in our world today, serving as the platform on which businesses, universities, etc, can use the technology to enhance communications. The part of the article in which the author describes the office that utilizes the MUD platform in an office setting, with the illusion of a door being cracked when someone from the other side of the country is peaking in to see if you have time to discuss something. That sort of instantaneous communication could be very useful. I also found one of the discussions about the dangers associated with the virtual community to be interesting. When people are spending nearly half or more of the time that they are awake entrenched in the virtual world you cannot avoid the fallout that may occur in your real life. There is the potential for people to loose control, as discussed in the article, of their real lives due to their online activities. Another curious point was the idea that people who are on MUD’s all the time are actually addicted to communication and the only place that they can find this “fix” 24 hrs a day is online. This was a truly novel way of examining the potential problem that MUDs present. Another thing that I found to be intriguing in the article was the problems with gender swapping that were occurring in the MUDs. I think the fact that people were getting so upset about the idea of people misleading them about their gender online says something about the nature of the reality/virtual interface presented by MUDs. It really goes to show that emotions online do crossover into real life, as the users themselves were distraught at the fact that they had their confidence betrayed online.

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