Monday, March 22, 2010

WEEKLY BLOG #6: Welcome to Second Life

I did it! I signed up for Second Life today. Second Life as Business Week puts it "is one of the many so-called massively multiplayer online (MMO) games that are booming in popularity these days. Because thousands of people can play at once, they’re fundamentally different from traditional computer games in which one or two people play on one PC.”

This new MMO world I just entered is definitely different from the Ataris and Pacmans I used to play when I was growing up in the Philippines. I didn't go crazy over video games but I do remember being sent to the principals office once because of too much time spent in class playing Tetris and Game & Watch. In the late 1990s, roles were reversed when I was the one sending students to the head nuns office (I was a science instructor in an all-girls Catholic college) because of too much Tamagochi Pets during lecture.

In Second Life, I have an Avatar or an alternate virtual identity that can roam around in a 3 dimensional world, do things and interact with other Avatars. The US Army uses Second Life for their recruitment and more companies are now discovering the 3D alternative universe for public relations and communications.

Unfotunately, these are not the first things that come to my mind when I think of MMOs. The South Korean couple that let their 3-month-old baby starve to death while they spent all their time raising a virtual child is still fresh in my mind. News about online fantasy worlds taking over ones real world is sobering and anyone engaged in virtual realities should be aware that uncontrolled use of MMOs can lead to dangerous escapism and Internet addiction.

My current job has no use for MMO or Second Life as of now so I dont think there's reason for me to get hooked on it aside from being requirement for my Social Media class. But if there one thing that got me pumped up with Second Life, it was the opportunity to create a virtual identity. Finally, I was able to use my fantasy wrestling nickname "Hanger" for something. I named my Second Life alter ego "Hanger Blindside" and I vision him to be a mixed martial artist and a Marine - something I occasionally day dream of. Because if I can't be those in real life, at least I can be in Second Life.

Go Hanger Blindside!

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