Week 2 - The Virtual Voice


       Our second class in Second Life commenced with the discussion of one’s online voice; the tone used in blogs and articles. We analysed the blogs we read before class and spoke about how each one differed based on the topic they presented. Blogs that were more informative were formal in speech while the Chris Brogan blog was more chatty as the purpose of his blog was to promote his marketing career. If it was structured like an informative blog such as the Brain Pickings blog, it would discourage people as those looking for business need something clear, concise and to the point. The personal aspect of that blog also makes it inviting to the consumer which is necessary when selling goods or services. 

       We then went on to talk about how reliable the information we read in the media really is and should we be so quick to believe everything that we stumble upon. I realised that while I don’t exactly check my sources, I don’t trust any sort of information that is published by one source and not the rest. It shows me that if no one else is displaying the same type of information then it mustn’t be true. However the media can copy each other so how can we really tell what’s fact or fiction? Most of the time we don’t take the moment to verify if a piece of information is correct or not but maybe we should become more informative and not be so quick as to deem something credible. 


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       For this week’s task we were asked to go back and explore some more but this time we were to engage in conversation with the various residents of SL. I decided to start easy and go to the place that I knew for a fact would be busy; Social Island. I wasn’t disappointed. The minute I teleported onto the island, I was surrounded by crowds of residents. Maybe it just happened to be a busy time in SL. I decided to walk away from the crowd as there was too much noise but nevertheless I stumbled upon others like me who were also enjoying the quietness. Straight I was I was greeted by a girl from Italy who was keen to socialise with me. It was just a standard chat. We asked each other how we were and where we came from. I decided that since this was Sicillee’s world I wouldn’t reveal any information about myself and so I told the girl that I was from England instead. This proved how easy it is to assume any identity in the virtual world. I could become anyone who I wished to be and no-one would know otherwise. It allows people to create an entirely different personality away from the real one. 

       I continued to talk with the girl and we hung out for a while trying to find some clothing shops on the Social Island but we found nothing of value. I suppose the fact that we both had the same avatars must’ve been the reason why we bonded.  I don’t think this would happen in real life where some don’t like when they bump into another person sporting the same outfit. I didn’t really mind. 



       After running into some unpleasant characters I chose to teleport to a new area. This time I decided to participate in some Halloween events and was teleported to a dark creepy farm. In spite of that I wandered into the house and asked the residents inside what event was being held there. I discovered that the surrounding cornfield was a game where each one of us had to run through it collecting corn while trying to escape from the monsters that pursued us. I admit I’m not a fan of horror games but what better way to make friends and socialise than to participate in the game? We were immediately equipped with giant baskets and began the game but I didn’t stay for very long and soon after decided while it was a different way to socialise in SL, it just wasn’t for me. Either way it was exciting to see the varied ways in which people make friends in the virtual world. 




       
       I then thought that if I joined another group on SL I would be inclined to make more friends and possibly meet some interesting people. I did some googling online and found a group which seemed pleasant and very friendly. It was called The Forest of Mystical Dreams and seemed promising. After getting a message to explore their various locations in SL, I decided it my mission to do so. Their location was quite mesmerising and there was a lot of creativity and passion used to create it. However it was very quiet. I found one other resident who quickly disappeared and I was left alone in the forest. I tried a lot of other locations after that, raging from Italy to the Hollywood Airport and while I assumed that they’d be crawling with people I found myself to be the only visitor in these places. In reality they would be crowded but I guess I got the privilege to see these places in a different light. 




       For my last attempt at socialising I decided to search events in SL rather than looking at destinations. I went for event that caught my idea as I like exciting places and ones that I don’t get to find in reality. I found myself on the beach and was starting to get discouraged as it looked deserted. Regardless I didn’t want to quit now so I continued walking until I spotted a resident in the far distance. I ran towards them to discover a temple that to my surprise was bustling with people. I was relieved and somewhat amazed; I would never have done that in real life. I’m not as confident as Sicillee and would never put myself out there as much as I had done in SL. That sense of uneasiness wasn’t present in the virtual world. It instilled a sense of self-confidence in me and I was proud. 

       I walked up to the crowd and almost instantly I was greeted by others who included me in their inner circle. I was a little confused as everyone seemed to be captivated by a fortuneteller machine that stood in the middle of the temple. I didn’t want to seem like I was intruding but I asked what was going on and everyone was more than happy to explain. Apparently each time two people sat in front of the machine they were given a  compatibility score and those who got 100% were awarded a prize. I was intrigued but stood at the back to observe the commotion. Suddenly the residents were calling for me to go up and try out the machine to see if I would win anything; I didn’t but they were keen to include me. For some reason the game kept crashing for me and I was willing to give up but I was given some advice by my new friends which helped me stay for a little while longer. 





       Overall I think that my social adventure was rather successful. A lot of the people that I met didn’t second guess me and were very open in including me in their ventures. This just shows how different the world would be if we weren’t so quick to judge and were more willing to accept people as they were. Seeing this in action made me realise that. 

Until next time! 

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