• Technological Communities Becoming an Addiction

    Posted on April 27th, 2014 msmith88 No comments

    In class, we talked a lot about online communities and how they have the potential to completely consume people to the point where they lose touch with reality. An interesting example we brought up was the online gaming community called Second Life. Within this virtual world, participants are able to interact with each other by using avatars. Also, residents can explore the virtual world, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, and create and trade virtual property and services with one another.

    I found a personal testimonial that described someone’s experience using Second Life (here’s the link: http://imthevilprincess.hubpages.com/hub/SecondLife-addiction). This person shares how she lost touch with her real life once she started playing Second Life:

    “I stopped answering my phone, which, it doesn’t ring anymore. I rarely answered my text messages. I have friends I’ve not seen in I don’t know how long.  My best friend would complain to me non-stop about me living in my virtual world and I thought she didn’t know what she was talking about. She barely speaks to me now.”

    If these things are true and happen often when using online communities, why are they still so popular? In her testimonial, the Second Life “player” says:

    “I had landed myself in trouble in my real life and it was a nice escape into a world where no one knew my real life issues. I threw myself into the game, obsessed with making lindens, having a sexy avatar, dating the sexiest male avatar, which turned out was a girl!  I have beautiful homes in my inventory, I have animals in my inventory, you name it, Secondlife has it.”

    It’s scary to think about how detrimental online communities can become for some people. Honestly, I feel like this can happen within various online communities as well. Maybe not as severe, but I think that online communities (now more than ever) have the potential to affect peoples’ face-to-face interactions and communication.

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