In Physical Form

September 7, 2009

During our class, several people spoke of their research topics, some of which were centered around avatars and virtual realities. This discussion reminded me of the first time I learned of these ideas.

In the spring of 2009, during my senior year at Elon University, I was introduced to the interactive program called Second Life. This online virtual world was rapidly growing not only in popularity, but allowing people to “clean the slate” so to speak. Regular citizens would jump on their computers and escape from the reality of this world to lead an idealistic life in a virtual world.

Although this seemed specifically related to human identity it goes beyond that by opening a beneficial door for fields like advertising, marketing, and even non-profit organizations.  This program can offer financial gain, a wide reaching form of communication as well as advertising. For example, some companies would place billboards in Second Life in order to gain more awareness toward their product, if not encourage both the person online or avatar to purchase it.

What surprises me the most about this virtual reality’s success is the fact that companies have been able to utilize this program not only for virtual advertising, but to sell their products without actually producing anything other than an online figure.

People seem so intrigued and wrapped up in this “endless opportunity” like world, that they actually spend money to accommodate their desires for their digital person. You are able to shop for clothing, cars and a myriad of other materials for your personal avatar with the quick use of a credit card. Some that participate in this virtual world also have the ability to purchase “property” or “land” within Second Life so they have more room to customize a home or building (which they will also have to purchase materials for).

I guess what I am most curious about is how people’s definition of satisfaction and value has changed. Before people seemed to be more interested only in something real, something they can hold, look at and feel. Items had to be solid and understood physically to a certain extent. Now, with the world becoming more and more digitalized, are people’s needs for a physical form (for some things) no longer needed?


3 Responses to “In Physical Form”

  1. Meg, are you on Second Life? What are your thoughts?

    • melee4 said

      I have been on Second Life before (through another person), but I have never actually had an account. If that makes sense.

      It is exciting that we have another communication outlet that can be utilized in so many ways. However, I am still unsure about how I feel towards the program.

      Are you on Second Life?

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