MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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A second chance in a second life

In the article “The electric self: doing virtual research for real in Second Life”, Julie Rak says identity is the goal of Second Life. From the moment you enter you are tasked at creating an avatar to live and succeed in a virtual world. Identity means everything in Second Life. The article makes this sound conceited and narcissistic in a way but the more I think about it, the more I recognize the “mirroring” of Second Life and real life. As human beings living in the real world, we are constructing our own identity from the moment we are born. We (like avatars) ask each other where we buy our clothes, what music we listen to etc., so we can customize our own behavior and identity to fit in. I think we all continually “edit” our identity in real life, or “offline”; this isn’t something new. As we grow up and meet different people we change the way we dress, the way we speak and our overall behavior.

It doesn’t really concern me at all until I start to think of this happening in business. If organizations adopt Second Life to hold international business meetings, conferences, exhibits etc., would an avatar’s reputation inside Second Life affect business within the organization? Would your avatars physical appearance online matter as much as your real life appearance would inside the office? Do avatar’s have a reputation? These are the question I wonder about. DeNel said in class that her half cat, half wolf avatar created a buzz in the library. How would that pan out during an international conference with the CEO? Can you just erase your existence and start over if you mess up?

What are your thoughts?


May 27, 2009 - Posted by | Comment on Course Material

1 Comment »

  1. I agree. I started thinking about using this tool in meetings and got a mental image of our politicians having committee meetings in Second Life. So manny questions. Who should be using it and when does it become a little much? How constructive is it when you can’t read a person’s facial expressions? I think it has a place but not in the average workplace.

    Comment by bethanyeyking | May 27, 2009 | Reply

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