The Presentation Of Avatars In Second Life Self And-Books Pdf

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502 Symbolic Interaction Volume 33 Number 4 2010, Second Life because of the real emotional pains she endured as a result of a failed. virtual romantic relationship there As I soon discovered this confusion is not un. usual On the other hand the very concept of confusion is itself perhaps simplistic. When I asked a member of the UNLV distance education staff about develop. ing sociology courses in Second Life she quickly answered Second Life That s. just about sex I thought this answer was pretty ignorant It is like telling a friend. you are going to visit Amsterdam and being immediately suspected of wanting to. conduct morally questionable transactions in the red light district Sure Amsterdam. is well known for its red light district but it is also world renowned for countless. other sites and activities Zeroing in on the red light district tells me more about that. person than about Amsterdam Or Second Life, Fortunately I found a retiring professor on campus who is teaching a course in. hotel management in Second Life to students in Hong Kong She was very clear. Those professors who don t understand the power of virtual education are dino. saurs who will soon be left behind in the dust of history Later that day I met her. avatar in Second Life where she showed me a few tricks invited me to a virtual pas. de deux gave me the landmarks of important educational sites a few virtual T shirts. and a quick introduction to this strange yet increasingly familiar space. What is Second Life and what am I doing here Second Life is the internet s most. popular and largest user created 3 D virtual world community Produced by UC San. Diego graduate Phillip Rosedale in San Francisco s Linden Labs in 2003 Second Life. is the virtual home of about 15 million residents worldwide who appear to each. other and themselves as avatars in countless different sites More than two hun. dred institutions of higher education have a presence in Second Life including Yale. Harvard Stanford Princeton UCLA USC NYU MIT University of Texas Vassar. Cornell Notre Dame Penn State University of Oregon and the London School of. Economics to name a few So do the Smithsonian Institution the Census Bureau the. Center for Disease Control and NASA So do the Holocaust Museum the Vietnam. War Memorial Woodstock and many other important sites of collective memory. So do multinational corporations such as Nike Coca Cola Manpower eBay Nokia. L Or al Microsoft Sun Microsystems Cisco Dell and a host of other Fortune 500. companies Media outlets such as CNN BBC NBC Reuters and others have virtual. buildings in Second Life The city of Ontario has a welcoming center here and Swe. den is the first country to have established a virtual embassy on this continent. Second Life has classrooms and planetariums research centers and aquariums. libraries and auditoriums hospitals and museums ashrams and atriums At the Duke. University site nurses are trained to prepare patients for virtual surgery at the Lon. don Imperial College Virtual Hospital they learn to diagnose respiratory problems. in virtual patients The Psychiatric Evaluation center at the UC Davis site provides. visitors with simulations of the schizophrenic mind at the Ohio State University. site one can take a virtual guided tour of various body organs Every Wednesday at. noon PST the site sponsored by Cornell University s Johnson School of Manage. ment features lectures by well known academics corporate executives and journal. ists The University of Derby offers virtual courses in psychology and Harvard holds. SI3304 02 indd 502 10 29 10 6 22 59 PM, The Presentation of Avatars in Second Life 503. law classes there as well Second Life has been used with individuals suffering from. autism cerebral palsy alcoholism and in Portugal children victimized by abuse. John Kerry used Second Life during the 2004 election Sarah Palin has a site. there as do other conservative and progressive groups During the 2008 election. many Second Life sites encouraged residents to vote and on inauguration night. many avatars celebrated the election of Barack Obama who has recently invested. 3 billion Lindens to explore green projects there 2 Dick Cheney on the other hand. has just canceled his recently opened account The most discussed Second Life po. litical site is probably Going Gitmo a site that reproduces the experience of being. a Guant namo Bay prisoner from arrest to seclusion and torture. Second Life also features countless virtual malls where one can purchase abso. lutely everything The first quartile of 2009 reported 125 million transacted in Sec. ond Life a great chunk of it in virtual real estate And yes there are dozens of sites. devoted to sexual encounters of every possible persuasion from moonlit tropical. beaches inviting avatars to simulate the missionary position to dark dungeons de. voted to orgies BDSM and bestiality, Second Life fits Book s 2004 2 definition of a social virtual world As she ex. plains such worlds have six characteristics, 1 Shared Space the world allows many users to participate at once.
2 Graphical User Interface the world depicts space visually ranging in style. from 2 D cartoon imagery to more immersive 3 D environments. 3 Immediacy interaction takes place in real time, 4 Interactivity the world allows users to alter develop build or submit cus. tomized content, 5 Persistence the world s existence continues regardless of whether individu. al users are logged in, 7 Socialization Community the world allows and encourages the formation. of in world social groups like guilds clubs cliques housemates neighbor. hoods and so forth, The graphical user interface distinguishes social virtual worlds from text based. ones such as chat rooms as it enables residents of this world to see it the people. who participate in it and themselves or rather their avatars in real time and from. every possible angle They no longer have to write read about the virtual world and. its participants or imagine them see also Boellstorff 2008 This visual capability is. significant as it enhances the emotional mental and physical experience of actually. being there With the recent introduction of a talk function Second Life residents. can now also hear and talk to each other using their own voices 3. Interactivity and community distinguish social virtual worlds from game oriented. ones 4 Since residents can alter develop build or submit customized content the. control they have over this world is almost complete As Book 2004 5 notes. Although much work has been done in the fields of media studies and cultural. studies proving that media audiences are not quite as passive as one might as. sume virtual worlds one up all other forms of interactive media by allowing par. ticipants to take complete control of cultural forms of production. SI3304 02 indd 503 10 29 10 6 22 59 PM, 504 Symbolic Interaction Volume 33 Number 4 2010.
With this capability residents become creators of this world and themselves in it. rather than its subjects see also L vy 1997 154 As a result their investments in it. are much more significant than in virtual worlds where the landscapes the residents. range of possible activities and their appearance are programmed and cannot be. significantly altered Vicdan and Ulusoy 2008, Since social virtual worlds encourage socializing and community building resi. dents come here mainly to explore this constantly growing environment and them. selves in it to educate themselves in a mind boggling diversity of areas to work to. acquire and create virtual objects to interact with others and to build communities. groups and enduring associations with them In contrast to virtual worlds designed. around games there is no mission to accomplish no tower to storm no dragon. to slay no enemy to kill no winning or losing Just creativity and interaction Sec. ond Life is thus constantly changing as residents creativity imagination skills rela. tions and projects are evolving Every day witnesses an exponential increase in the. number of residents sites groups activities and communities from Grateful Dead. fans to gay activists from Palestinian supporters to Parisian artists from teachers to. transsexuals from philosophers to furries 5, As the most social of all virtual spaces and the most virtual of all social spaces Sec. ond Life is a fascinating environment for conducting sociological research and assessing. the stability of our key concepts And although conducting research in such spaces still. raises eyebrows among social scientists it seems evident that developing knowledge. about these environments is essential to any understanding of the present moment. and the rapidly approaching future In their extensive literature review of qualitative. research on the internet Garcia et al 2009 54 advance this point eloquently. While some argue that the virtual world is a different social space than the. real world we argue that there is one social world which contains both tradi. tional and technologically advanced modes of communication and sites of social. activity To continue to effectively explore some of the main and enduring. problems of ethnographic research ethnographers must incorporate the internet. into their research to adequately understand social life in contemporary society. While a growing number of symbolic interactionists examine the self interaction. and many other interesting topics online they typically study them in text based. sites Yet the unique characteristics of social virtual spaces I discussed above raise. new questions about interaction self presentation and self construction in virtual. spaces Among those I am chiefly interested in the following 1 What are the unique. characteristics of interaction in social virtual spaces 2 What do interactions in so. cial virtual spaces suggest about the self and everyday life in the digital age 3 How. do interactions in social virtual spaces shape the self and everyday life in the digital. age These questions are far from trivial It is projected that by 2011 80 percent of. all internet users will spend time in social virtual worlds and that by 2018 Second. Life will have 1 billion residents Daniel 2008 As a modest attempt to answer those. questions I have conducted participant observation and in depth interviews in a. wide variety of Second Life sites between October 2008 and July 2009. SI3304 02 indd 504 10 29 10 6 22 59 PM, The Presentation of Avatars in Second Life 505. THE VIRTUAL IMPULSE, Virtual worlds are simulations Like a map they usually start out. as reproducing actual worlds real bodies and situations but. like simulations they end up taking a life of their own. Rob Shields The Virtual, While Second Life is new the virtual impulse the desire for the virtual is quite.
ancient see Boellstorff 2008 Ikegami and Hunt 2008 and Shields 2003 From the. Lascaux cave paintings to virtual reality it seems that humans have always sought. to articulate re create and manipulate the real through a variety of media Since. culture always shapes its expressions and content the virtual also constitutes a text. where participants express their concerns fears myths hopes and desires In her. work on portable communities Mary Chayko 2008 defines virtual worlds as. cognitive entities and sociomental spaces 6 For Book 2004 they are important. sites of cultural creativity and re production As liminal spaces they can be thera. peutic and transforming offering the opportunity to meet neglected ego needs. and to explore aspects of the self that we hesitate to acknowledge in real life see. Book 2004 Boellstorff 2008 and Daniel 2008, It is this virtual self that serves as my point of entry into Second Life How do we. construct it how does it affect us and what happens to the boundary between it and. us As contemporary research on computer mediated communication suggests. Fortunati 2002 it no longer makes sense to distinguish between online and of. fline realms We inevitably manifest our offline self when we interact online and our. online interactions inevitably follow and transform us when we are offline As Cun. ningham 2006 16 puts it After virtual reality reality is not the same but has been. altered by the bleeding of both worlds into each other by their mutual inseparabil. ity Since virtual worlds are always embedded in and articulate the social historical. context in which they emerge and vice versa I turn to a discussion of this context. THE HYPERMODERN MOMENT, TURBOCONSUMPTION AND THE GRANDIOSE SELF. Hyper is an idiom that designates the excessive the reaching. beyond a norm or a framework It is located in the field of. signification of superlatives with a connotation of constant. overreaching of maximum of extreme conditions, Jean Rheaume L hyperactivit au travail. Entre narcissisme et identit, In the society of hyperconsumption everybody feels. entitled to the best and the most beautiful, Gilles Lipovetsky Le bonheur paradoxal Essai sur la.
soci t d hyperconsommation, SI3304 02 indd 505 10 29 10 6 23 00 PM. 506 Symbolic Interaction Volume 33 Number 4 2010, Over the last decade or so prominent French social scientists such as Gilles. Lipovetsky 7 Nicole Aubert 8 Francois Ascher 9 and others have increasingly used the. prefix hyper to describe contemporary social trends And while these scholars use this. prefix in slightly different ways they agree about its core a. The Presentation of Avatars in Second Life Self and Interaction in Social Virtual Spaces Simon Gottschalk University of Nevada Las Vegas What do interactions in virtual spaces suggest about everyday life in the digital age How do interactions in virtual spaces shape everyday life in the digital age Guided by hypermodern theory I conduct participant observation in the social virtual world

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