Second Life vs First Life – its real impact on reality.

Throughout history we have seen technology transform the world through global nervous systems, connecting its citizens from the invention of the telegraph, which caused a dramatic shift in world-perception to Paul Baran ARPAnet concept in 1964, which later became known as the Internet. However as we assess the endless possibilities the Internet and cyberspace offer its users, has communication gone so far in that it is becoming extinct in the real world and surviving only through text in MMOGS (massively multiple online games)?

Personally, the idea of a living a virtual second life seems strange because I can not get over the fact that I would be putting most of my thoughts and free time into my Second Life and not connecting with reality. For some users this is the case. When the virtual reality does not only become their Second Life but their only life.

However, after writing the previous paragraph I came across an article by Henry Jenkins where he states that even though we travel to the digital world to escape reality we are engaging with symbolic representations, which we read in relation to reality. True.

Personally, I attach a stereotype to the user of Second Life whose ambition is to; yes again I repeat myself, escape reality. Thus, believing that Second Life is only used for evil not good. However Jenkins further goes on to state that there are many educational uses for second life. A particular inspiring case uses virtual reality to help those who suffer with autism and Asperger’s. It is said that Second Life enables the rehearsal of social skills and helps overcome anxieties of communicating in reality.

As I stated previously I would never trade my life of adventure and travel in substitution for one filled with MMOGs. However for some, escaping reality is their only option and there are multiple benefits which are the outcome. I’m confident in saying that at one stage in everyone’s life they have wanted to change something, it doesn’t have to be something big, even just a small aspect. This is what second life lets you do. And now I understand why this virtual reality has become so popular.

After reading Four Puzzles From Cyberspace, a short story, which particularly took my interest, was an argument between two Avatars in a virtual world. I’m not going to try and explain the whole story to you in intricate detail however I will give you my opinion…I began reading the story in real life. It wasn’t making much sense and the argument seemed extremely irrelevant, with comments made by the Avatars extremely absurd in there nature. The further you read, the more complex the argument became. For someone like me who is new to the idea of virtual reality and second life initially I could not comprehend the logic behind the argument, however this story has allowed me to somewhat grasp the vast the full extent of these virtual worlds and the technology that allows them to do this is phenomenal.

I guess one way to think of Second Life is that if there is a problem, in any aspect of their virtual life they can fix. If only this was true in the real world.

Follow onto this site for more videos and information on Second Life.


About Nicola Salter

Nicola. 21. UOW Graduate
This entry was posted in DIGC335 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Second Life vs First Life – its real impact on reality.

  1. pakkaponow says:

    I have never play Second Life or any MMOGS game before and i agree with you that i won’t trade my real life with MMOGS game such as Second Life but for people that play these game. There are many motivation that make them want to play. There are results of the studies shows that online gaming addiction is related to many motivations for playing such as coping with negative emotions, virtual friendship and/or relationship, stress, empowerment, mastery, completion from the result it appears that it is especially motivations related to socialization and satisfaction of player that serve as risk factors for developing online gaming addiction.


    Kuss, D & Griffiths, M 2011, ‘Internet Gaming Addiction: A Systematic Review of Empirical Research’, International Journal of Mental Health Addiction, vol. 10, pp. 282.

  2. clairedillo says:

    Hi Nicola! It’s interesting to hear that Second Life can be used for educational purposes for people with autism and Asperger’s. Not knowing much about MMOGS, it’s really great that these virtual worlds can be used for more than just ‘pleasure’. I love the last two sentences of your post. It really sums up that there is a massive difference between the real world and a virtual world. Heres a great article i found if you want to read more!,8599,1739601,00.html

  3. I love reading your writing. You are clear, concise and articulate. You’ve also made an excellent point regarding the good vs evil use of MMOGs such as Second Life. We do tend to generalize users of online games as being nerds living out of their parents’ basement with no real prospects or ambitions. And this is coming from me, a former World of Warcraft addict. Perhaps we do underestimate the power of virtual realities and their ability to empower individuals.

  4. chjvu says:

    Very engaging article written to explain why people are engaged in second-life activities. The internet is actually facilitating and endorsing those suffering from social and communicational disabilitiesIt is very interesting to know the importance of the Cyberspace and its positive contribution to mankind, besides the social panic that the Internet is deteriorating humans’ communication skills!

  5. ankledeepin says:

    Very interesting example you use regarding how Second Life and other virtual reality sites can actually assist the social skills of people suffering from Autism and Aspergers. Really good to see a positive aspect of these being highlighted as the focus is often on how these sites can detract from it’s users social skills, an excellent article.

  6. ellkae says:

    I explored Second Life and its impact on reality this week also, but wasn’t aware of the platform being used to help with those suffering with Autism and Asperger’s; it definitely makes sense and is an exciting step for health practitioners. As chjvu pointed out, we increasingly hear vast negativity about the impacts of the internet and cyberspace on society. Instead we need to recognise and utilise these opportunities such as facilitating meaningful relationships and boosting self esteem! Its not all that bad.

  7. I totally agree! I imagine an iLife or second life user to be a nerdy loser sitting in his basement pushing his glasses back up his nose every 10 seconds because his face is so oily they keep slipping. Okay over dramatic explanation there but you get the jist hahah Miranda Kerr is probably on second life, imagine being sick of being a model (never right?) maybe she does and finds her escape online.

  8. jamesayre says:

    Interesting stuff! There’s a fine line between people ‘living’ in Second Life and other MMOGs and people escaping into it. It’s sad that if people are living in it, because it means that their lives are not as exciting and not as fulfilling. They’re living through code…
    This is a social disconnect and if it escalates it will become a significant problem to society. We are already disconnecting in a face to face way.

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