Thursday, April 17, 2008

Discussion Response

Our class discussion was really interesting because it allowed me to see many different aspects of virtual reality that I had not thought of before. For example, we talked about how a balance between Second Life and the real world is very important. We discussed the fact that games like World of Warcraft are designed to keep you playing. So at first you might get the satisfaction of leveling up pretty quickly, but as you progressively get to a higher and higher level it is harder and harder to get that satisfaction. This may be addictive and therefore could end up being unhealthy.
We also talked about how Second Life is a very useful tool and therefore can be used in both negative and positive ways. For example participation in Facebook in the form of communication can be beneficial. In my life for example it is a lot easier to get people together for an event through Facebook, yet procrastinating by flipping through people's pictures is not beneficial. It keeps me from doing other things like actually hanging out with people or exercising. Yet this is a conscious decision that I can make. In class it really struck me when someone said, "It is whether you let the technology use you or you use the technology." I totally agree with this statement, and I don't think that it is important for people to understand all the positives and negatives of technology like second life, because then they can make conscious decisions on how they want to use them.
Another topic we discussed in class was the Virtual Rape article by Dibble. The majority of the class seemed to think that it was silly that people were so offended by this actions of this character on Second Life. Yet we also discussed how attached people become to their character. They may even see their character as an extension of themselves and so it would be personally offensive to them. My friend Libby in class brought up the fact that we had been discussing whether sex in Second life would count as cheating on our respective boyfriends. At first I would say no because I have no attachment to my character, yet Libby talked about how if my boyfriend went on instant messenger and had virtual sex that way would I be hurt. I would say yes. Therefore I think that as was stated in class, it all depends on how you participate in the virtual community. If you feel like the virtual character is an extension of yourself, you will react very differently than if you just use it to communicate. For example, the head of the class talked about how she had just got back from semestar at sea, and that the people she met in Japan asked for her avatar not her email or facebook. I thought this was interesting because I had not thought of Second Life as a form of communication with people abroad.
Finally the last point I found interesting was how some people thought that Second Life may replace university. I think that Second Life might add to college life, but I don't think it should replace it.

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