Saturday, February 28, 2009

What Second Life is really about, Part one

Shari asked some time back, "I don't really know what SL is, have never looked at it, don't understand it. So please do explain how it had such an effect on you." This is the first part of an attempt to gather some answers to that question. In this piece a dear friend in SL (and perhaps soon RL, gods of finance willing) talks about the community and connection that SL can enable.
It's funny how so many people are suspicious of virtual lives. A textbook I use to teach social problems describes feeling strongly invested in online environments as mentally unhealthy and antisocial. It's said to be isolating.

I came into Second Life socially isolated by disability and sexual status and geography. I found community and connection and love, first inworld, and then crossing the boundary between worlds. When I proposed marriage to my partner Beta a few days ago, I did it inworld so that I could make this move in the presence of dear friends. I know the idea of proposing in front of a computer screen with my love sitting downstairs in front of hirs would strike many unfamilar with virtual worlds as crazy, but we were not separated or alone, we were in the midst of a circle of cheering friends, scattered around the globe, dancing together, bound by love.

Virtual worlds have brought connection and joy into my lives, first and second.

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Blogger Zhoen said...

Engage in friendship in whatever form. History is full of friendships of correspondence.

Ideal really would be that community in person, but that is rare indeed these days.

February 28, 2009 at 5:07:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Blogger Shari said...

First of all, thank you for responding to my question; I went to SL home page, but without signing up it seems impossible to get a "feeling" for it. Certainly your friend put it very touchingly. It's true that we urbanites have a rough time of it making community within our 3D tactile community. I've been working hard at it all my life.
Thanks for the glimpse.

March 1, 2009 at 1:51:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Blogger Pacian said...

Zhoen's comment reminded me of H.P. Lovecraft's friendship with Robert E. Howard. Even if they never met, Lovecraft's grief when Howard died was real.

But people are prepared to be more sentimental about letters than binary information.

March 1, 2009 at 11:04:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Blogger JoeinVegas said...

A correspondence by mail would seem slower in this technological Text Me/ Twitter age. On line makes things faster, but perhaps the writing of letters might produce something better, with more thought and emotion.

March 2, 2009 at 5:57:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Anonymous Seraphine said...

audgeseichnett!!! congratulations on your engagement! it's wonderful that you can give yourself emotionally, even if it is in front of a computer screen, to another.
why not. very famous people in history have loved via beautiful letters. can you imagine waiting, perhaps months, to receive a reply to your love letter? but i suppose there is an advantage: one has the time to thoughtfully compose the eventual reply.
it's very romantic, really.
and wonderful.

March 7, 2009 at 7:08:00 a.m. GMT+1  
Blogger Udge said...

Oh, no, sorry Seraphine. This isn't about me! I was merely one of the "circle of cheering friends, scattered around the globe" :)

But it was a wonderful moment and is a great story.

March 7, 2009 at 10:41:00 a.m. GMT+1  
Blogger Shari said...

Hi.. Wondering how you're doing. It's been a month or so since you posted, and just want to make sure you're healthy and OK.
I know I shouldn't nudge (no pun intended), because I certainly wouldn't ever be able to keep up with a blog and updating it all the time, but still..

How are you?

March 28, 2009 at 7:46:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Blogger Cynthia said...

I was delighted to meet your fleshly self at the wedding, dear Udge, and I'm glad the random hugs were okay, as I meant them quite earnestly and could hardly have refrained! I wonder, how are your friendships outside of that wedding crowd different? Is the difference well explained by the wedding crowd being a sort of subcultural group? Or is the chief difference geographically cultural? Do your friends in Germany only hug one another on a proper Teutonic schedule? :) *Hug*!

July 31, 2009 at 6:58:00 a.m. GMT+2  

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