Monday, September 10, 2007

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We have met the Internet and it is us

In a New York Times story about Second Life, Shira Boss notes familiar parallels between the real and the virtual:

When people are given the opportunity to create a fantasy world, they can and do defy the laws of gravity (you can fly in Second Life), but not of economics or human nature. Players in this digital, global game donít have to work, but many do. They donít need to change clothes, fix their hair, or buy and furnish a home, but many do. They donít need to have drinks in their hands at the virtual bar, but they buy cocktails anyway, just to look right, to feel comfortable.

Second Life residents find ways to make money so they can spend it to do things, look impressive, and get more stuff, even if itís made only of pixels. In a place where people should never have to clean out their closets, some end up devoting hours to organizing their things, purging, even holding yard sales.

ďWhy canít we break away from a consumerist, appearance-oriented culture?Ē said Nick Yee, who has studied the sociology of virtual worlds and recently received a doctorate in communication from Stanford. ďWhat does Second Life say about us, that we trade our consumerist-oriented culture for one thatís even worse?Ē

I'd say that last quote says more about Yee than about the people he's wailing about. That said, OxBlog's Taylor Owen has a decent answer:
One thing is becoming increasingly clear though, "second life" is a misnomer. The internet is not an alternative to life, it is life. It is us, in all our complexity, madness and brilliance, out in the open for all to see, critique and engage.

posted by Dan on 09.10.07 at 05:04 PM


Of course, the old adage of computer programmers comes to mind: "Garbage In, Garbage Out"

posted by: Hal on 09.10.07 at 05:04 PM [permalink]

I really despise the lack of serial commas. I really, really do.

posted by: zarathustra on 09.10.07 at 05:04 PM [permalink]

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