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Posted: Jan 30th 2010 9:50PM (Unverified) said

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Really solid article man. This type of openness to what's REALLY going on despite what people perceive should be applied to all facets of our current existence.

Posted: Jan 30th 2010 11:01PM (Unverified) said

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Nice post! I liked the tie in to past generations use of new technology.

Although the telephone is a good example of a new medium that youth initially took a lot farther than adults, teens used phone conversations to extend and enhance existing in-person relationships. So while your analogy applies to texting, foursquare, facebook, etc.when used with RL friends, I don't think it is a good parallel for strictly pseudonymous relationships.

When I've heard criticisms related to "get a life", they have been mostly directed at virtual interactions that are disconnected from physical world family, friends, community, employment, etc., and even worse, based upon avatar representations that are not accurate physical representations of the flesh-and blood humans.

It's strange, but now that I think about it, the stories of people who have met in virtual space and later marry in real life actually reinforce the unreality of virtual life. If virtual life was so real, why would people need to disclose their human identity, meet in person and live their physical lives together?

Like most controversies, there is an element of truth to both sides of the argument. In this case, I think that some people do use virtual life as a kind of drug-like escape into fantasy or to avoid the challenges of human relationship. But my sense is that most people use virtual identities to expand or break-through the boundaries of self-perception, extend (not replace) their social relationships and discover new ways to actualize human potential.


Posted: Jan 30th 2010 11:44PM (Unverified) said

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"I think that some people do use virtual life as a kind of drug-like escape into fantasy or to avoid the challenges of human relationship"

Well, I've known plenty of people who use their day job in an office for exactly the same purposes. I've always felt that things on both sides of an equation tend to cancel out.
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Posted: Jan 31st 2010 8:13PM (Unverified) said

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There's a hunger in us you've touched with this post.

When I lived in Spain, we'd go to the corner bar every day to hang out. The scene was not about drinking; it was about seeing familiar faces and having an unending conversation. It seems to me that is what we are doing with social networks and virtual worlds. My college students don't like virtual worlds in part because they have a dense social network in place--in person on campus and through their Facebook accounts on and beyond it.

In America, we have zoned stupidly (I'm an urban guy--don't even get me started on the 'burbs) yet I still don't have a neighborhood bar that I can walk to. And DUI is no laughing matter. I'm lucky enough to have a pair of artist neighbors who do come over, in person, to drink by my wood-stove and talk about more than the Golden Globes.

So this is where social networking comes in for most folks isolated in their suburban pods--it's a place to exchange ideas with friends, to just be social.

I'd rather be in virtual worlds because I can make things there. Too bad that SL and other VWs get painted as "geeky" because, in my experience, the typically extrospective American sees them as says "antisocial game," even as he sits down to watch--alone or with a few pals--an NFL slugfest.

Maybe these armchair quarterbacks reason that their participation is not virtual, when compared to piloting an avatar. Yet the irony is that most of these burger-fed fans could not chop wood with me, or even join me on my long walks, without having a coronary :)

Can't we enjoy the pleasures of the real and the virtual? Life is what we make of it...and there are joys in solitude. My best moments in SL include my monthly road-trips down the Lindens' highways.

Now I'll go play that killer-great George Harrison song, "What is Life."

Posted: Feb 2nd 2010 8:16AM (Unverified) said

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Great article- chimes well with me as I'm sure it will with the majority of the massively readership. I'd go further though and take issue with the definition of having a life as "extended periods of meaningful engagement with others" - I agree that is what most people seem to mean but frankly I've found interactions with others over-rated... for me life is about achieving that blissful state of flow, engrossed in a productive creative activity. On my own. That's not to say that interactions with others are always a waste of time clearly, and the best thing about modern technologies from the telephone to SL and beyond is the control we get over who to interact with and when we do it. Life+

Posted: Feb 2nd 2010 2:52PM (Unverified) said

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i think i've seen the expression "get a life" being used more often as a criticism for non-mainstream ways to spend your time, not restricted to pasttimes involving social interactions, more commonly things seen by who used the expression as somthing that isn't worthy of people spending their time on (for example, following gossips on celebrities, learning about all aspects of a fictional universe (books, games, TV series etc), developing elaborated recreation of fictional wardrobes and so on)

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