The Mystery of Second Life

Second Life is a social networking site that I have yet to try and use. The thought of a “second life” or alternative to your first life continues to perplex me. I went online though and looked into the website. The website is very clear in its belief of building an online community amongst is users. Before you can even apply and try it out though there is a video that tells you what the website is. After investigating the site I found that there is a lot you can do as far as socializing goes and having Second Life relationships is not as shocking or unpredictable. This is a “community”.

I acknowledge I am incredibly biased of the site because I do not understand it at all. I am still new to Facebook for the most part and continue to learn all the tricks and socializing concepts on that site. After reading articles in class about the topic including an article by Don Heider, the Dean of Communications here at Loyola it got me thinking more about the website.

When I first heard of Second Life I instantly thought why would someone want to do this and how can people do this for such long extended periods of time. But through reading articles for this class it seemed to make more and more sense to me. People much like the users of Facebook use this sight as a way of escaping. In two of the articles I read it talked about people feeling withdrawn from the world and a lack of connection with people in the “real world”. As soon as these people got an account on Second Life their personalities became larger than life. Although most of the relationships and friends you encounter on Second Life never really extend to the real world… people tend to reveal things they would never do before which surprises me. I have trouble writing in my information section what are my hobbies on Facebook yet people are saying their secrets to complete strangers on Second Life.

I can empathize with people that need a means to escape and can grasp the concept of having a “better” or “improved” you online, but in a game? I can understand playing it as a game but when it consumes you life and free time, it seems that game is not a way of describing Second Life. I acknowledge I need to actually use the site and experience it and what it has to offer but for now I am okay with using Facebook and seeking out communication and connection with the people in that community because it is authentic to a certain extent.

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2 thoughts on “The Mystery of Second Life

  1. You acknowledge both sides of the story here. I also see Second Life as a sort of getaway for people to be able to express themselves for more freely. But, I think theres an underlying issue for these people. Why do they need a second life?! If they are yearning so much for companionship, isn’t that a realistic social problem they need to face and fix..in reality? Not in some alternate universe? And fine, if you can justify why it’s necessary to have a second life, at what point is your second life consuming your real life? In one of the articles assigned in class, a married man also is married in second life. He spends endless hours in front of the computer and the fact that an article was written about him, shows me theres a problem in his real life. Theres no way he can be equally devoted to his real wife/life, if he’s glued to the computer. I can see how the idea of Second Life is somewhat appealing. It’s an alternate world that you can experience first hand. But when you are spending real money, and real time on a fictional game, where do you draw the line?

  2. It seems that the line that divides a person’s first and second life is starting to be blurred more, as more cases of neglect of the real world increase because of second life. I also find too that it is a problem but at the same time who is to say that this game is not helping those who have problem with socializing. Obviously these people need an outlet in order to meet people or escape some of the stresses in their real life. Even though I see this as a good thing I also realize that people need to break their addiction form this website and exist with others or there is a real problem.

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