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Escape to the other real

It all started with emoticons.
the simple one's - :P, ;)
the anime one's - (0_0) , (u_u), (^-^)b...
then avatars in chat.
Secondlife took it to a whole other level, where an alternate reality is constructed. It is an internet based virtual world launched in 2003, developed by Linden Research, Inc. A downloadable client program called the Second Life Viewer enables its users, called "Residents", to interact with each other through motional avatars, providing an advanced level of a social network service combined with general aspects of a metaverse. Residents can explore, meet other Residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, and create and trade items (virtual property) and services with one another. (source - wikipedia article)

well, the real thing of consequence about second life is that, that it has a virtual currency - Linden Dollar (Linden, or L$) and is exchangeable for real world currencies in a resident to resident marketplace facilitated by Linden Lab. This allows for second life to be more than just a leisurely diversion to a serious alternate platform for people to interact and conduct their business. It is the platform where most of the residents would be digital natives. Thus these platform provides for a good opportunity to marketers to target their product in much focussed way and making the experience much more enjoyable and informative than a regular communications. Many real companies have set up stores on second life, such as Dell.
Now we are seeing even governments getting interested in the virtual world. Last year a Beijing municipality announced that they will be creating a special zone called the China Virtual Economy District or Cyber Recreation District. This physical business park will be supplemented by a virtual business space called the Dotman World being jointly created by the Beijing Cyber Recreation Development Corp and MindArk ( the Swedish company which created Entropia Universe). It will be the biggest initiative by any government in the world to use Virtual Worlds as a serious business development and promotion multiplier. It will transform the business and social spaces and processes. (- news source, indusgeek post )
Here we have an interesting scenario for Digital natives:
what if governments embrace virtual worlds bigtime like in china, what would be the implications for people in long run?
Being a digital native would be incentivised. In any case, Broadband has people hooked more to net than TV. broadband penetration would be actively increased. Also with the setup of new virtual world sites such as 'small world' where one can access virtual world over web browser only instead of installing a dedicated client software, its becoming even more accessible. Small world also allows for one to share images, watch videos, listen music together with others in the virtual world. This i believe is quite interesting and a step in the continuous evolution of web 2.0.

Some services might be preferred to be handled over the virtual world rather than the real one. How about outsourcing all interaction with the ugly organisation we call government to virtual world. I guess virtual world apart from being a social ground could be a brilliant and efficient place to transact information among larger groups of people.
Think about the seriousness with which one handles affairs with government. and it being performed in an environment that had its root in the philosophy of anonymity and healthy disregard to formality. Well this is not the first time that formality found its champion in cyberpunk manifestation. There are many companies with their outlets on secondlife, and I would like to know if they have changed their way of interaction for the sake of medium or are they sticking to their old form for the sake of consistency. I wonder what would happen to the language of governance.

How would proliferation of alternative identities in terms of avatars affect the interactions of DNs in future?
What if you prefer the avatar version of your friend over his/her real self? Are you conveniently neglecting the part of someone's personality you don't like and choosing the ones u do? The person being broken down into his qualities and characteristics. On the one hand there may be health fallouts of a hardcore digital native lifestyle like obesity and on the other hand, the generation today is much less acquiescing of imperfection in others. In this intensely competitive and non pardoning environment, building healthy relationships is that much more difficult. And since a person can wear a digital mask of a avatar, the relationship building tends to be superfluous or goal oriented. We have examples of healthy relations being built on the cyberspace but either they are exceptions or the relationship was built over some real interactions aswell.
you might be the best of friends on the chat for years, but when you interact in real or even over a telephone call for the first time there is that sense of shock and uncertainty and hesitation.]

please do comment your views.. this is no small question, and demands a bit more consideration.


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