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It: Second Life Essay

2137 words - 9 pages

What is Second Life?
Second Life is a virtual world developed by Linden Lab that launched on June 23, 2003, and is accessible on the Internet. Second Life is for people aged 18 and over, while Teen Second Life is for people aged 13 to 17. It is a communication tool which provides a multi-user virtual environment allowing users to interact in these online worlds in real time. The residents represented by a 3D avatar create everything in this virtual world. Residents interact with each other through avatars by using a free client program called the Viewer. They can explore, meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, and create and trade virtual property ...view middle of the document...

Avatars can teleport to any location in Second Life and navigate by walking or flying around the space. Users can communicate with others through chat and other text media or, with VoIP enabled, can speak to one another. Each resident has an inventory to store virtual objects which can be used or given to other users. Numerous gestures are available, including waving, sitting down, or dancing. In short, avatars can do anything as long as a programmer has created such a function.

Why is it significant?
Although Second Life offers a gorgeous synchronous platform for users from different countries to meet and interact, the stronger attraction for many users is the possibility to which the virtual world treats as a legitimate substitution for the real world, allowing users to inhabit characters and situations that are otherwise unavailable in real world. For example, setting one’s avatar as the other gender reveals a user to attitudes and behaviors that a person of that gender might experience in the real world. Activities in Second Life can teach users how to work effectively in a group by allowing them to experiment with behaviors that they might be too reluctant or shy to try in the real world. (Educase Learning Initiative, 2008) This is because Second Life gives people a new identity in virtual world which what they do is unrelated to their real life. The fact that users are prone to alter their actions because of the medium provides an opportunity observing how people behave under a virtual world which has no restrictions. That Second Life has a functioning focus on questions of where real people find value, even in a virtual world.

The downsides:
Second Life faces an internal conflict between using technology to create a virtual life experience and the reality that in a virtual world, people may not follow the code of ethics or the laws and norms of society. Some residents critics that activities that are illegal or unethical in real life are becoming usual in the virtual world—gambling, child pornography, and pyramid schemes have appeared in Second Life—and in many instances it remains unclear what authority has control over virtual activities that affecting the real world. Blurring the line between virtual and real highlights a wide swath of untested legal issues that have yet to be resolved. (Educase Learning Initiative, 2008)Because Second Life is unreal, and avatars are largely anonymous, the way users behave in-world is at least somewhat suspect. Moreover, Second Life is sufficiently engaging as to raise concerns not only about overuse but also about the erosion of some users’ ability to recognize the difference between virtual and real.

As the second life is widely used around different cities, companies with different industries have used it for business purposes. The uses include education, architecture, advertising, media industry, and even internal management.

Media industries
Television and media companies such as...

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