Wednesday, April 23, 2008

SL Exploration

Being dissonant is fun, but how far can it go other than an avatar? If I dress myself as a woman wearing provocative clothing, I still need to act the role of a provocatively dressed woman? It seems to be so, otherwise you're left crushing all these guys hopes of flirting with a scantily clad woman. Very strange thing this second life. Gives you an opportunity to act out in ways you may otherwise not. Crazy how much time you can spend tooling around and exploring places too, couple that with a slow computer that gets too hot and kicks you off every time you want to teleport and you're on for like 4 hours. So I went in and created an avatar that looked like a provocative woman, you know in order to keep with the whole dissonant identity concept. I found the experience disgusting, as I find most testosterone driven behavior, to be borderline psychotic and disturbing. Ultimately I would never want to have to tolerate what chicks have to go through when getting to know guys better, it's really gross. I know not all guys are dirt bag, very forward, disgusting types but a lot of guys that approached me, where like, you got any pics and stuff. And asking personal questions like where you're from, what you really look like. Testosterone doesn't seem to be curbed by online distance between people. It seems that often males are more forward than they would be in regular life. As we read last week about the cyber rape, I'm sure that maladaptive male behavior occurs more often than one would think. Once the ball is set in motion it seems difficult for men to stop from going "all the way." My experience was pretty uncomfortable because i'm not a woman, and not gay. But I imagine SL would provide a good opportunity for people to express and get the attention they crave, especially if it's not acceptable in the real world. For instance it seems that people that are homosexual or transvestites would have an opportunity to exercise their feelings towards other men. Furthermore they could exercise the feelings to other men that are not aware they are pretending to be a woman. It seems this would allow the transvestite or homosexual to explore what they want, of course there is room for ethical speculation, as the party they are corresponding with is not fully aware of the true scenario. But non the less, I think it may provide an outlet for people whose emotional well being may normally be marginalized. I also created an avatar of a guy that is slightly to mainly different from what I am as a regular person. I made a guy that was kind of a punk rocker/alien. Spiky hair, and "radical" looking clothing. He was also nothing really similar to who I was, a couple more women than normal probably talked to me. It's funny because you always kind of run into those spots where you normally would with chicks. I came across as being really forward, commenting on female avatars appearance, to which she responded with open arms. It seemed that her impression of me was totally different than who I really am, it was kind of difficult to keep the facade going that I was just a dirt bag guy that wanted..., what? I mean what can you really do with a chick in SL? Talk dirty to each other and stuff? I guess that's about it. None of my encounters went that far, and if they did, I think at some point I would begin laughing due to, what I feel would be absurdity. Of course they do say that the brain is the most erogenous zone to play in. I spent a lot of time talking to this one girl. She seemed to be very into SL. She told me about a way of getting paid for being logged in. I guess you accumulated Linden's or something for hanging around and talking to other people. Obviously this is at the best interest of SL to develop a large base of users so that others will come in and converse with others. Thus making themselves more appealable to advertisers and attracting more online revenue. So I signed up to camp, as they call it. She said that you can cash the money out into real money after a while. Whether that is true remains to be seen. As far as what people spend time doing, it's a strange phenomenon. You are attracted to the avatar someone creates, but the person at the other end may be very different, but is performing at the level of their avatar. I guess there is potential for a disconnect but the avatar seeks to create the expression of who the person is on the inside, thus what you have the potential of doing is conversing with someone that is more real than who they are in real life. Such as, if they do not have enough money to buy the clothes they enjoy in real life, but in SL they are able to design outfits that truly make them happy. You therefore arrive at a place to allows to individual to express themselves more in the virtual world than in the regular world, where their resources are limited. As opposed to conversations which take place in chat rooms, SL gives the user, atmosphere and an online character to express oneself with. Meaningful conversations with people, which could conceivably be considered dates, can take place in various online places. I went to a club and listened to music while talking to some people. In this respect, atmosphere truly does play a large role in how communications are processed between people. If you are in a swanky little dive of a place like, welfare island, the scenery around you is likely to have an affect on the conversation. I found that the person I was talking to felt uncomfortable and wanted to meet me at a club. Unfortuanately I could get there b/c of my p/c but I thought what's the big deal with being somewhere different, but I see that atmosphere truly does make a difference, just like in real life. To me, things like this doesn't make a big difference, but to others it seems to. Maybe it's just women, men are more driven to interact with females in any atmosphere though, or perhaps that's just the underdeveloped. I can see how SL could/would become addictive. You have free reign to go where you want, which is good and expressive. I can see where people in countries that don't have freedom may feel good about being able to move about without fear of being persecuted. It's kind of a stretch to say that this is an optimal in their situation. What SL evokes in individuals is the same cognitive reactions that the internet provides. SL takes it to more of a social level though, it is like an interactive myspace colony. I haven't looked that far into it, but I imagine you can create a personal profile with all the fixing's of pics, and words describing who you are an so forth. In this light SL has taken participation as a form of communication to a new level. It allows the individual to express themselves in an atmosphere that is physically safe, but not necessarily emotionally or intellectually safe. The implications are that you are put into a world that is raw and with the potential for all the same encounters that the real world has. The best thing? One has to determine what their values are, and what they feel is right or wrong. Do you want to live in society that honors absolute, unrestricted freedom of expression? What is lost by incorporating rules into SL? Does it become like a politically correct space that only the one's that walk and talk like everyone else are rewarded for their sheeplike behavior? I guess it will be determined after the worst of the worst happens through SL, which it will no doubt happen, the boundaries will be sought out, it's how SL responds to this press of limitations that I am interested to discover. If you allow SL to operate like a laizze faire market, that is free of restrictions it will take on the role of a political philosophy and can potentially work out the likelihood of libertarianism working. This could be a potentially interesting concept to explore. What and how will people react under the conditions of a communist government in SL as opposed to a democratic government. And let it not be waive-ring with social restrictions. Allow anarchy to take place in SL and see how people respond to what they want, I mean that's what people are hoping to achieve in SL, they are looking for absolute freedom, they think they can have it, and want to express it in an alternate reality.

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