Thursday, April 17, 2008

Class Discussion

I felt that our discussion was good and explored a lot of the good and bad aspects of virtual worlds and playing in the MUD games.  For my own personal opinion I think that these worlds can be helpful in communication.  When I went on second life I worked on my spanish skills with those who spoke to me in Spanish. This is not something that I could do as easily or feel comfortable doing in the real world.  However, I do find issue when people say that second life helps communication skills.  I think communication skills are best used face to face rather than looking at a computer screen.  Although the skills of typing and conversing through text are used, I doubt that many of the users are working on their English skills or communication skills while doing it.  I think that while technology has added to our faster communication with each other, valuable skills of interacting, long letter writing, etc. have been lost because of the instant gratification, fast technology world we live in.  

Another point that I wish was discussed about these worlds is the lack of health benefits. Personally being at a computer all day hurts my eyes and I would much rather be outdoors and enjoying the people and the world around me.  I think this online tool is overused by many and the person to person interactions in the real world are lost. Not to mention, the lack of exercise that video gaming has lead to. (not for all, but for many.)

Regarding the readings, I really did enjoy learning about the rape in cyberspace. I thought the boundaries between virtual and real reality were interestingly blurred in this example.  Along with that it was brought up on whether or not flirting/talking with someone online was cheating on a significant other. These lines are similarly blurred because of the division between reality and non-reality that makes up these online communities.  

Most interestingly, I felt that the act of writing yourself into being through an avatar or profile is an interesting way  to see aspects of a person's personality. One person in discussion said that everything said online was in fact a part of a persons' self.  I think that this is true. It is an aspect that can be explored freely and with very limited repercussions in an online venue.  In the article, the example that many young men were trying to find out what it was to be female, or explore gender identity was fascinating. It is nice that there is a medium in which people can explore different aspects and "try on" personality facets that may or may not fit.

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