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Tuesday, February 27

Second Life: Everyone deserves a second chance?

The talk of the day, it seems. The news, television and the papers are full of it. Not so long ago I saw a debate about Second Life on tv. Who would I be, not to express my opinion on the matter?

I’m a foreigner to the subject at hand. Of course I spend a huge amount of time on the internet, but Second Life has not managed to lure me into it’s trap. Second Life would allow me to do things I am not able to do in real life because of my handicap. But it’s not real. Or is it? I won’t say Second Life is the end of the world, because it does offer people chances they might not get in real life, but it doesn’t exactly make me jump up and down in enthousiasm, either. A digital U2 concert, paying to see 3D-animated character move like stickfigures across your screen, and some crappy sound from your speakers? I don’t see the fun. I would miss the ‘feeling’. My exact problem with everything on Second Life. I don’t see how people can something so fake, so seriously. Oh well, maybe I’m shallow.

On the one hand, Second Life is a brilliant invention with a lot of possibilities for the future, but you do have to know where and when you draw the much needed line. Alfred Levi, founder of Maximizing Media & Marketing Opportunities en president of Nima, was also there on the tv debate; he mouthed his fear about the hype. I share his fears. For instance, he said it is getting easier and easier for people to ‘pull the plug’ when things aren’t going their way. On Second Life, people can easily walk away from their problems; nobody would say anything against it. In most cases, people don’t even really know each other. Anonymity is once again an issue, is it a blessing or a curse? I still don’t know the answer tot that question. However, the anonymity is the biggest reason why I’m so sceptic about Second Life. You can pretend to be someone you’re not. You make yourself more perfect, cause I think that is just the way people tick. You might make ‘friends’ as your ‘new self’, well yes, your character flaws are easily masked. Imagine yourself liking this new self better than the old one? Dangerous business, if you ask me.

The most important thing about Second Life remains the goal. This will be different for every user. Is it just a source of information, a means of communication, a distraction, a chance in the marketing business, a game? Or is it a substitute to real life, a second life, a second chance? Should we encourage such an entire new world, or hit the breaks, because we cannot define the boundaries? It scares me, because the world takes it way too seriously.

Now, I do have too much imagination, I’m great at coming up with doom scenarios. I can just see a serial killer skip around Second Life, pretending to be a nanny. Serial killers deserve second chances too…?

Original Dutch article on

1 comment:

Annelies said...

I see your point, and I think you're right. But I am afraid this might be a little hard to stop. Maybe we should find a new planet where we can live in peace without those stupid things :P.

I think people are afraid to change but still want to be different, and that is what makes them create such things. Usually with the best intentions of course, but it can get out of control too easily for my comfort. In these past years, a new age has begun. The one where you can pretend to be someone else and nobody can find out that you do if you play it well. It is scary to think of the possibilities people have in this new world.