I think I will stick with my First Life

March 12, 2008

Okay, here is my disclaimer: to all of you Second Life lovers out there – you can hate me for my opinions, but that is all they are is my opinions. I am a real technology supporter and lover, but having said that, you will see that my opinions below do not fit with this statement at all. I am very much a newbie to Second Life, so please keep this in mind as you read my first impressions.

I have created my “virtual self” in Second Life (SL) and I have to say, that like my classmate, Dean, I can’t say that it has been that positive thus far. I think I will stick with my First Life – in the real world, with my real self.

One of my issues with SL is personal image. As if anyone creates themselves in a likeness to themselves – it has places for “saddle-bags” and “love handles”, but I think that most people turn those as close to “none” as they can. So far I haven’t seen any overweight people in SL even though studies everywhere say how obese our society is. I tried to make my Avatar similar to my RL self, but as much as I tried to do that, my Avatar is still quite stunning comparatively.

My next issue is having people “walk” onto my computer screen and start talking to me – frankly, it freaks me out! The first time it happened I physically jumped and had to really work hard at not letting out a little scream since my son was sleeping. It is just all a little bit weird. While I am comfortable with web-cams, voice chats, etc. this idea of seeing what others are doing and having someone I may or may not know “show up” on my computer screen seems a little invasive to me.

I also find it difficult, even though I got a list of all of the people in my class that are in SL to tell who is who with all of the strange names and animal Avatars. Some I can hardly tell if they are male or female (not that this cannot happen in RL too)!

And my own weird thing with SL is that I get motion sick when I move my Avatar. I just can’t play games where the movement is rough like that, so I feel nauseous most of the time in SL – this probably doesn’t really improve my attitude towards this product.

We were taken on a tour of SL by Kirk Kezema this evening in our ECI 831 class. It was a little bit frustrating getting all of the kinks out, since we were guinea pigs for such a massive group tour(though it was pretty cool to be a part of something like that too, so thanks Alec for setting it up). There were a lot of issues with people having or not having sound, knowing what we were supposed to be doing, and not knowing general navigation rules. In a technology that is so new and so vast it perhaps would have been useful to have a bit more detailed preparation.

Unfortunately, even after the tour (which was about 2 hours in length), I don’t feel that I know that much more about the actual PURPOSE of SL. I just don’t get it or enjoy it. Is that okay that I don’t get one of the AMAZING tools that we have been introduced to this semester? I still think the technology behind the product is sheer genius, but I just don’t buy into the product and I feel guilty for my own opinions and feelings because I really want to promote all of these technologies, but I can’t do it for this one!

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9 Responses to “I think I will stick with my First Life”

  1. Shaun Loeppky Says:

    Your comments reflect my exact feelings about Twitter.
    🙂

    In my opinion, the real power in online virtual worlds is the ability for persons to not only interact with others, as in a chat room, but also to interact/represent themselves in somewhat of a physical sense. I have heard many of my students comment that their “online” identities in virtual worlds often a the opposite to how they interact with others in real life. This is can be a real powerful tool for marginalized persons.
    I have hear the comment that everyone in virtual environments are attractive and fit, etc. What is wrong with this? How do want yourself presented yourself in your reality?
    I wish I could have been there!


  2. […] see, as an in-school administor, if I could support this as an educational tool. Like my colleagues Connie, Dan, and Laurie, I still was not impressed with what I experienced. I feel that if Second Life was […]

  3. ccossar Says:

    Twitter is difficult to dig into too, however, I have had some luck with networking there.

    My worry is that we are, like the media does, portraying that “perfect image” rather than feeling comfortable with who we are. That’s all. I think the media does enough damage to people’s self esteem with their air brushing, etc.


  4. I think there could be some educational benefit if the students were visitng a specific site like Discovery School or the SpaceFlight Museum. I wouldn’t want them wandering around.

  5. Laurie Says:

    I am still trying to figure out SL. The best I can figure is that it is a huge set of islands with endless resources on each.
    I am a huge supporter of technology but am having trouble seeing how this environment will be used in an educational setting, especially when many educators are hesitant to utilize other technology tools at their finger tips. I felt like the slow learner in the tour because it seemed like I needed quite a few tries to achieve success in simple tasks like walking, sitting, teleporting.
    I have concern about the images portrayed also. Our media does a great job or presenting the skinny, long haired girl image. I really wanted an avatar that was more outdoorsy, perhaps straightly body shaped but my with my limited experience and time, I did not create this. The avatar to me was just something walking on the screen and I couldn’t figure out why people just wouldn’t use their own name and picture. (Mind you I am not a big fantasy fan or a person with video game experience.
    All of this being said, I did see some potential regarding the resources available. I will go back and explore this a bit. I would really like to know how to access some of the resources once there. It seemed like I did a lot of looking and walking around often into walls.


  6. […] with Second Life Posted on March 14, 2008 by ryanflood If you haven’t read Connie’s post about her experience with Second Life yet, you should, as she has written a rather […]

  7. Ed 831 Ken Says:

    Connie,

    I agree with your summarization of SL. I’m also finding it difficult to see the relevance of a program like SL in an educational setting with the exception of distance learning. I do see the relevance of this type of program in the distance learning environment.

    I think we have to see past the glitches that occurred that night, primarily due to having too many people who didn’t know what we were doing (me included). The program does have some merit even though it didn’t work perfectly.

  8. coreyterry Says:

    Second Life does absolutely nothing for me! I have no urge to even engage in an activity like that! Call me old school!


  9. Connie,
    We don’t hate you for expressing your opinions. In fact I really enjoyed reading them. However I will present a question to you. Did you see the relevance or potential of the Internet the first time you saw it? I was one of those people who once said I would never use Internet banking…I evolved!


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