I know I rarely post anymore. My work life has become extremely full, fun, challenging, exciting, and exhausting. 🙂 I’m still in SL, I’m still reading about SL. I am still a big advocate of virtual worlds. If I’m not sharing that here it’s because I spend most of my time being self-indulgent in SL, seeing friends, dancing, chatting, and not so much time thinking about posting those experiences.
There is a wonderful SL blog out there: Prim Perfect. The other day one of the authors posted about the user community within Second Life. Like many, many others, I found this post to be articulate, informative and right-on the money. Her theme was about age and virtual worlds:
But … what if Second Life wasn’t the place to attract a young audience? What if it was, instead, a perfect place for people of more mature years (with larger, if more shrewdly managed wallets)?
There are a lot of thoughtful comments on this post. I’d like to point you to Vivienne Daguerre’s comment on January 29, 2013. She had a lot to say, but my favorite sound bite is this:
For people my age, SL is a good thing, keeping us learning and our minds active and sharp. If you love Grandma and want to help her fight off the effects of an aging brain, bring her into SL!
I’d only say that SL can help people of any age learn and keep the mind active and sharp. My new job role is in community-building. Virtual worlds give access to communities to people who might otherwise not find a community. Age can take away access to a physical community, but virtual worlds and our minds can give us a place to belong anytime.
I’ve been wandering farther and farther afield, reading a variety of SL blogs. While I love looking at the pictures from SL, I find that the text that most interests me is when the author is contemplating the relationships between SL and RL. In my own head I have this Outer Limits/Star Trek/Matrix scenario where more and more of us live more and more in the virtual world, ultimately becoming nothing more than brains. Not a new theory, I know – I remember seeing brains glowing in cylinders on the original ST. What happens in between now and when we are all nothing but mental energy?
I found another blogger who has touched on this at least once, Ariane Barnes in her (I assume it is “her”) blog Virtual World Philosophy: Escape From Reality In that essay she talks about how the gas crisis and lack of fuel will “drive” more people into the virtual world. She has much less of a doomsday attitude than my science fiction approach.
But I found Virtual World Philosophy: The Uncanny Valley even more interesting. As I read the other blogs and hear about skins, parties, sailing, celebrity events, I wonder if I really have sufficient interest for this. Having to deal with skins is akin to fussing in RL about how I look, am I dressed properly for the event, blah blah blah. All that stuff that can be amusing if you have time, but so much of the time it is a colossal nuisance. Same with celebrity events. There is enough politic’ing in the office and even in other social organizations that I don’t want to have to negotiate all those fine lines for fun. I’m not the kind of person who plays Diplomacy.
Wikipedia’s definition of The uncanny valley:
“The uncanny valley is a hypothesis that when robots and other facsimiles of humans look and act almost, but not entirely, like actual humans, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers. The “valley” in question is a dip in a proposed graph of the positivity of human reaction as a function of a robot’s lifelikeness. “
Something related may be happening to me. Not revulsion. But maybe disenchantment. The more I hear of how immersed some people are, the more I hear about fussing with personal appearance, the more I hear that we will all be living in a virtual world, the less appealing SL sounds. I want to be free and have fun. I don’t want to drag all the every-day minutiae into this fantasy. How REAL do I want my fantasy to be? It sounds like it will take me hours to master some of these skills. Will that turn what has been an escape into simply another “gotta get an A on this exam” event?
Or does the fault, dear reader, lie not in my stars, but in myself? 🙂 Maybe I simply need some chocolate. 🙂