Despite my initial unfavorable opinion of virtual worlds, such as Second Life, recent articles and comments from my peers had aided in increasing my enthusiasm about this assignment; however, it didn’t take long for me to return to my negative opinion. With my bias opinion likely still present in the back of my mind, my lack of patience for technological obstacles and disgust for video games since my childhood, I’m not surprised by my lack of interest in Second Life. Although I personally did not enjoy the experience, and most certainly went into it guarded and with hesitations, we are all entitled to our own hobbies and if it makes someone else happy, and doesn’t harm others in the process, I have nothing against it for use by others.
I am a relatively outgoing person, so I found going up to strangers and trying to talk to them fairly entertaining, despite the lack of success I had. I was so shocked by the experience in general I had to call my husband into the room to simply witness how bizarre the whole concept was, in my opinion. Whether I wasn’t approaching these individuals with proper virtual world etiquette or I simply seemed weird or uninteresting, I have had more success holding conversations with strangers in the real world. l also must admit, I have a higher level of confidence outside in the real words versus virtual worlds as well. I felt very uncomfortable and insecure while participating in Second Life, and as weird as it sounds, I thought maybe others could sense it.
Although I am a 25 year old female, I chose a male avatar…the least creepiest looking male avatar, in my opinion. Based on the warning we had from our professor about a former student’s experience and my low level of comfortability with the platform and the users, I strategically made this decision to avoid any odd interactions or advances, even if they are just virtual. As you can tell, I obviously was very guarded in this whole process, which may have hindered my ability to enjoy it more. I found the simple task of finding a name that wasn’t taken to be frustrating. I must say though, my husband and I did have quite a good time laughing at the whole concept and approaching individuals.
I, or should I say Kaleaf (my avatar’s name), walked, flew and teleported to various areas. Although I tried to talk to a few people, only one person attempted to converse with me and they spoke Spanish. I did boogie down on the dance floor with another individual but we never sparked a conversation.
I accepted an invite to another land, where I had hoped I would have more success conversing with other virtual individuals. After feeling rejected, overwhelmed and even a little like an outcast, I took more of a light hearted approach to try to end the whole process; however, Second Life doesn’t allow you to drown yourself in the ocean, so I eventually just resorted to logging off.