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Bridget's Blog Page

Page history last edited by Bridget Kinealy 15 years, 5 months ago

Paragraph of Description without using any adjectives:

D-hall--Dining hall, also known as D-hall by many, is where many Richmond students gather to eat. There are selections from fruit and sandwiches to pies, ice cream, cereals, and pasta. D-hall is opened from 7:15am-8:00pm.  It just takes a swipe of your card and you are in! If you are looking for a place to meet people and socialize over food, D-hall is the place for you.




     This is a game in which hard work, dedication, and determination meet. It does not discriminate; in fact, it brings people of every race and gender together.  Not only does this game measure the physical, but also the mental.  People from all walks of life come together to play this one simple game; however, to them it is not just a game, it is life.  It builds one's character in ways never imaginable.  It teaches discipline, respect, desire, trust, passion, and sacrifice.  Many call it a gentlemen's game played by hooligans.  This is the game that has shaped the last fifteen years of my life.  Hour after hour, day after day, week after week, my time has been completely devoted to this one game.  Some would call it "silly," labeling it a waste of time, time that could be spent studying; however, I like to say it is time well worth it because this game does not just take, it gives and it loves giving.  It makes one mentally tough, ready to face any challenge that lies ahead.  Turning dreams into reality, it is admired from afar.  It will rip and tear, burn and ache, cutting down into the core of a person, allowing a person to find his or her true identity.  One must have skill, power, heart, desire, and a will to win.  It is bigger than the "I."  The team is more than just a team.  It is a family willing to fight for one another.  In every minute of the game, every step of the game, every play of the game, every moment counts.  The game is decided in ninety minutes and then it is all over.  Ninety minutes of pain.  Ninety minutes of fight.  Ninety minutes of glory. Ninety minutes of a game called soccer.  







  As I was creating my avatar a very provoking thought came to mind; on what basis was I creating my avatar?  What I mean by this is what was influencing my decision on the gender, the hair color, the clothing and so forth that I picked for my avatar?  Having just come from my sociology class, I could not help but think that my decisions were based off what I conceive as the "social norm."  The possibilities, when creating my avatar were, for the most part, endless.  I could have made my avatar male, but I chose not to.  I could have chosen my avatar to be dressed as a "skater boy or girl," but I did not.  The list goes on.  My point is that I chose my avatar to look the way that I thought was the "most normal," if there is such a thing.  I chose for her to "fit-in" with what I thought were the social norms of Second Life, basing my decisions off what the social norms of our culture are.  For example, in our culture, a person who is considered pretty and has the “ideal body type” can be found on the front pages of magazines, such as Cosmo and Vogue.  When creating my avatar, I, for the most part, based her appearance off these “models” in our society, making her tall and skinny, giving her “big” lips and long, silky hair, and dressing her in a nice pink dress, which shows off her skinny yet toned legs.  However, what I soon realized was that the "social norms" in Second Life and what is considered “pretty” here, may be completely different from those of our society/culture.  I assumed that Second Life's social norms were the same as the social norms of our society.  So sadly, as some might say, this is why I chose the avatar I did.  As time progresses and I learn more about the game, I hope I not only develop my understanding but also my willingness to create and explore a new world.






     Upon entering the world of Second Life, I have to admit I was a little overwhelmed.  The world was very complex and because of this, when presented with a scavenger hunt apprehension set in.  However, I soon found that this scavenger hunt was a great learning tool.  It made me start from square one, learning the basics, such as, walking, talking, flying, teleporting, and changing my appearance.  Accomplishing these skills would help me with the rest of my Second Life adventures.  My first task was to learn how to change my appearance, a simple task, well, so I thought.  I quickly found out that my options were almost limitless when it came to choosing what my avatar looked like.  For example, by using a scale I could change how far apart my avatar’s legs were, if I wanted her legs to be muscular, or long, how big her “butt” was, if I wanted her to have legs that were more bow-legged or more locked kneed, how big her feet were and so on.  Every last detail of the appearance of my legs could be changed.  After grasping the task of changing my appearance, I was to learn how to teleport.  The hard part of teleporting is selecting your location.  I had to find my inventory list and then select the folder containing the places I was to visit.  Once, I teleported to my desired location, I had to learn how to take a snapshot.  Taking a snapshot was relatively easy; it was a lot like using a camera, in that, it was very simplistic, only having to press one button. The last step in the scavenger hunt was to chat with a class mentor, which was a lot like using “aim” in real life.  The Second Life scavenger hunt helped me to gain a better understanding of the world and all of its unique “tools.”   


Photo: BK Scavenger Hunt Photo 1






     The analysis project was, for me, the most challenging project yet.  Everything we previously learned in class went into writing this paper.  It was our first thesis-driven paper.  We had to make sure we carried our analytical writing skills throughout the entire paper, making claims and then supporting these claims.  Research was the first step that went into developing the thesis. 

            My research started with visiting the virtual clothing stores, Nike and Mischief.  Through close observation, I was able to conclude the first impression these stores wanted to make on potential customers.  My work was far from being finished.  My observations, were merely claims.  I had to support my claims through scholarly articles and visual examples.  In a way I was like Sherlock Holmes, investigating and proving the claims I made to my audience.  I took pictures to support my claims, giving evidence of everything I was saying to be true.  I also had to bring in other sources supporting my statements.  Having more than one viewpoint allowed my opinions to be taken more seriously.  I was not the only one making the claims I did.  There was evidence behind what I was saying.

            This paper proved to be a challenge; however, I was able to overcome the obstacles I thought would hold me back, and actually made them work for me.  The obstacles I encountered, such as supporting my claims, made my paper that much stronger.  I thoroughly enjoyed this project because it not only helped me to become a better writer, but it also allowed me to learn more about Second Life and the claims that others are making about it.  This project depended my understanding of companies in virtual worlds and their “goals.” I was able to get an “inside look” at virtual world stores, such as Nike and Mischief, comparing and contrasting their features and their methods to “win customers over.”





                     How do the virtual world, Second Life, and our real world compare, and how do they contrast?  Looking at the similarities and differences between these two “worlds” is very intriguing; however, this question does not stop here. What are the pros and cons of living in a virtual world, as opposed to living in the real world?  What does a virtual lack that the real world has?  Are virtual worlds better than the real world?  The questions are numerous, but the answers are all relative. 

            Virtual worlds are said to be a great learning tool, where it is easy to study in groups, interact with other students or professors, and visit important locations, that could not normally be visited in the real world.  Second Life allows a person’s imagination to run wild, by allowing members to build whatever he or she wishes.  It is a world with few rules.  It is a world run by you. 

            Setting aside all the wonderful “tools” virtual worlds provide, a person can see that virtual worlds will never “match up” to the real world.  The main reason for this is because our “senses” can never be developed in a virtual world.  Molotov Alva, an avatar in Second Life, explains qualities virtual worlds lack.  He said that everything in the virtual world, Second Life, relied on memories he had from his real life.  A beach in Second life was only an “approximation” of a beach.  When walking on a beach in Second Life, Molotov could not feel the crunch beneath his feet nor smell the sand and fresh seawater.  To get the complete experience of a beach, Molotov had to turn to his memories of a real life beach and the rest, was left up to his mind.  Nothing in Second Life is what it seems.  Everything is an “imitation object,” which reflects our real life. Most everything in the real world can also be said to be counterfeit.  Day in and day out, we clutter our life with material possessions.

If a person is unhappy with his or her life in the virtual world, he or she can delete it by simply deleting one life and installing another.  Do you not wish that our real life was as easy to change?  Would it not be wonderful to only have to click one button to make everything “good” again and start anew?   Although this would be wonderful to do, real life is still far superior.  What is life without sight, smell, taste, feel, and touch?  Without these things, what does a person have to wish and desire for?  Molotov explores these questions, not only showing the similarities and differences between the virtual world, Second Life, and the real world but also displaying the pros and cons of having a virtual life, as opposed to a person’s real life.





            After reading our assignment for this blog project, I thought to myself, “Gee, this is not going to be easy.”  I mean, I had to find something in the real world that reminded me of the virtual world, Second Life.  However, the funny thing was that the “perfect” photograph I was looking for was right under my nose.  I stepped outside my dormitory ready to go on a long adventure in search of anything that remotely reminded me of Second Life.  Right as I stepped outside my dormitory, it was as though a brick hit me. I stood on the front steps of my brick building, looking up and down and to the right and left of me.  I snickered to myself, as at that moment, I realized my “perfect” photograph was right in front of me, a picture I had captured many times; however, this time there was meaning behind my picture.  I discovered that the world of Second Life and the real world had so many parallels that, in some ways, they were almost “identical.”

            I took a picture of the relatively tall buildings all around me and captured the paths that ran between these buildings, as it reminded me of my visit to Dublin in Second Life.  When I arrived in Dublin, I felt as if I were actually there.  Surrounding me, where “tall” buildings, with streets running around them.  It was such a neat town.  Dublin felt “real” and “alive” to me.  Because of this, when I walked out of my dormitory, I felt as if I had walked into the Dublin in Second Life.  I know this may sound a little strange, but this is what I find so fascinating about Second Life; it literally feels like my “second life.”

            The pictures I have captured and saved to my memory in my real life, help me relate what I see in Second Life to my real life; and, the same goes for the pictures I capture in Second Life, help me relate what I see in my real life to Second Life.  Some may find this “weird” or even “scary,” but I find it interesting and, even, fascinating.  In a sense, I can live my real life through a virtual world.  This photograph I took of the buildings all around me on my college campus and relating it to the buildings all around me in Dublin, helped me to see this parallel between the real world and Second Life.






I took photograph one on top a pyramid in Chichen Itza, which is in Mexico. I enjoyed my visit here because I loved looking at the pyramids and the beautiful architecture.  It was really neat to stand on top of one of the pyramids and overlook the rest of Chichen Itza.



My second photograph, looking at an entryway, was taken after I was teleported to Svarga.  This place was, by far, the most unique place I have ever been in Second Life so far.  The entrance, the water, the plants and flowers, everything seemed as if it told its own story.  As soon as I arrived here, I felt like I had gone back in time.  It was a neat experience, something I never experienced before in Second Life.    

Photograph three, with me looking out at a section of clothing apparel, was taken on my first visit to Milky 9.  When I first arrived in this store, my first thought was "I cannot believe how big this store is."  After gaining my bearings, I was able to take a stroll around the store, observing what Milky 9 was all about.  I learned that Milky 9 had pretty much everything my avatar needed, from clothes .  I had a great first experience in Milky 9, and will definitely return.   


I took photograph four, standing between buildings, when I visited Dublin in Second Life.  Dublin was a very neat place, with a "city" feeling.  The buildings were tall and very close together.  It was a quaint town.  I immediately felt like I was in Ireland.  My time in Dublin was short, but it was a great experience.


Photograph five, which is of the outside of the "kathedraal," and photograph six, which is the inside of the "kathedrall,"  were taken when I arrived on Epiphany Island.  The "kathedraal" on Epiphany Island was very pretty.  I loved stone building and the red carpet going down the middle of the "kathedraal." It caught my eye as soon as I arrived on the Island.  This building was truly spectacular.   







As soon as I heard the announcement that our class was going to join a virtual world called Second Life, I began researching.  When I typed in “Second Life” in Google, Wikipedia was the third link that came up.  Having a relatively good history with Wikipedia, I decided to look at what it had to  say about this strange, unfamiliar virtual world.  Wikipedia gave a very good overview of Second Life and helped me to get the main idea of what this virtual world was all about.  When we received our “Wikipedia Smack Down” assignment, I thought it would only be appropriate to incorporate the virtual world, Second Life, the building block of our class this semester.  Now that I have been a member of Second Life for a few months, I can look back on what Wikipedia told me about this virtual world and “unpack” the claims it makes.

One claim I picked that especially stood out was “Second Life caters for users aged over 18, while Teen Second Life is restricted to users aged between 13 and 18.”  Since we have not been formally introduced to Teen Second Life and my knowledge of Second Life comes from first hand experiences, I decided to focus on the first part of this claim, that Second Life caters for users aged over 18.”  I changed this claim stating Second Life is a 3D virtual world, in which users are presented with mature content, such as strong language, graphic violence, and nudity, catering to users over the age of 18.”

        This claim caught my eye right away. I wanted to explain to other readers why this claim was true, so I chose to unfold it. I wanted to explain and expand on this claim to those who do not know a lot about Second Life, so these people could become more knowledgeable about this virtual world they may soon join. This claim makes people question Second Life because it does not give any explanation why this virtual world is designed for a “mature audience.”  I expanded this claim to explain why it caters to people 18 and up.  I was able to give this information with the help of the Teen Second Life website and the Second Life website and because of my experience in Second Life.  While spending time in Second Life, I have encountered many things that I did not find appropriate for a younger audience, which was due to language, from other avatars, or sexual content, which I saw in bars, clothing stores, and advertisements. This claim about Second Life, which I found on Wikipedia, needed to be changed to increase the knowledge of those reading about this unknown virtual world.  I also used the academic source, which had the title of "Virtual Environments and K-12 Education" by Kelly Czarnecki, who is the "technology education librarian for teens and youth, ImaginOn, the public library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County, North Carolina."  Czarnecki lays the foundation of Teen Second Life.  It was a great academic source for my claim because it allowed me to learn more about the differences of TSL and SL and the various qualities of TSL that many young teens find intriguing.  






Baron's major claim:

"New communications technologies, if they catch on, go through a number of strikingly similar stages. After their invention, their spread depends on accessibility, function, and authentication." In short, all communication technologies go through four stages of evolution.


Do not seem to support:

Most people would say that it is hard to see the similarities between the pencil and the computer, when talking about advancements in technology. 


Baron's connections to major claim:

"Pencil-making processes were from the outset proprietary secrets as closely guarded as any Macintosh code."

"Just like the telegraph and the computer, writing itself was once an innovation strongly resisted by traditionalists because it was unnatural and untrustworthy."

"Just as writing was not designed initially as a way of recording speech, the pencil was not invented to be a writing device."

"In order to gain acceptance, a new literacy technology must also develop a means of authenticating itself."

"The telephone was initially received as an interesting but impractical device for communicating across distance."

"The introduction of the telephone for social communication also required considerable adaptation of the ways we talk."

"Similarly, the mainframe computer when it was introduced was intended to perform numerical calculations too tedious or complex to do by hand. Personal computers were not initially meant for word-processing either, though that has since become one of their primary functions."

"Over the years we have developed a number of safeguards for preventing or detecting fraud in conventionally produced texts."

"As the old technologies become automatic and invisible, we find ourselves more concerned with fighting or embracing what’s new."


Book: The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance By: Henry Petroski


1. Author's focus:

The history of the pencil, what came before and after it, and how it shaped our world. Some major chapters in Petroski's book that Baron uses are called: "What we Forgot," which discusses Henry Thoreau and his influence on the pencil, "Noting a New Technology," which is about the modern history of the "familiar wood-cased pencil," (36) and "Of Traditions and Transitions," which tells more about the history of the pencil and discusses matters like "why it took so long for such a common and seemingly simple artifact as the modern pencil to evolve..." (51). 

2. I think Baron included this article because it offered him support in his claim, that all communication technologies go through four stages of evolution, by showing similarities between the pencil and other forms of technology, such as the computer.  Examples of where Baron uses Petroski's book for support are:

"As Petroski tells it, the pencil industry in the eighteenth century was buffeted by such vagaries as the unpredictable supply of graphite, dwindling cedar forests, protective tariffs, and, for much of its history, an international consumer preference for British-made pencils." 

"As Petroski sees it, Thoreau’s purpose was simply to make money." 

"Henry Thoreau set about to improve his father’s pencil. According to Petroski, Thoreau began his research in the Harvard Library. But then, as now, there was little written on pencil manufacture. Somehow, Thoreau learned to grind graphite more finely than had been done before and to mix it with clay in just the right proportion, for his improvements on the pencil-making process, combined with the high import duty imposed on British pencils after the War of 1812, led to great demand for Thoreau pencils."

"The engineer Henry Petroski (1990) portrays the development of the wood-cased pencil as a paradigm of the engineering process, hinging on the solution of two essential problems: finding the correct blend of graphite and clay so that the “lead” is not too soft or too brittle; and getting the lead into the cedar wood case so that it doesn’t break when the point is sharpened or when pressure is applied during use. Pencil technologies involve advanced design techniques, the preparation and purification of graphite, the mixing of graphite with various clays, the baking and curing of the lead mixture, its extrusion into leads, and the preparation and finishing of the wood casings. Petroski observes that pencil making also involves a knowledge of dyes, shellacs, resins, clamps, solvents, paints, woods, rubber, glue, printing ink, waxes, lacquer, cotton, drying equipment, impregnating processes, high-temperature furnaces, abrasives, and mixing (Petroski, 12). These are no simple matters. A hobbyist cannot decide to make a wood-cased pencil at home and go out to the craft shop for a set of instructions. Pencil-making processes were from the outset proprietary secrets as closely guarded as any Macintosh code."





     For our final project, I would like to write about the sociological aspects of Second Life compared to real life.  Second Life and real life are comparable on many levels, but they also differ in some ways.  Possible topics I would like to look at are: the social norms of Second Life, if there are any, the interaction between people, social groups, and the inequalities and diversity of this virtual world.  When I am writing my paper I need to make sure to steer clear from my biases. I cannot let my pre-judgments of Second Life interfere with my research.  My personal opinion of Second Life and how I feel it impacts me and my life cannot ‘rule’ my paper.  I need to look at Second Life on a macro-level instead of on a micro-level.  I would like to avoid the claim that Second Life’s norms are better or worse than real life.  I need to explain how and why Second Life and real life are different by gathering information from many sources.  My paper is not going to be an ‘I feel’ paper.  It is going to include my experiences in Second Life so far, including my interactions with other avatars; however, I am not going to let these experience influence my paper entirely.  I need to include many academic sources and outside influence to support my claims about the sociological aspects of Second Life as compared to the sociological aspects of real life. 

            Four sources I am going to include are:



Hughes, Michael, and Carolyn J. Kroehler. Sociology: the core. 8th ed.

New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2008.



Hughes and Kroehler write an awesome book about the sociological aspects of real life, defining terms and given wonderful charts and examples.  They cover a broad rang of topics, introducing the reader to many new topics, stimulating the reader to think outside the box. Both Hughes and Kroehler are well educated on the topic of sociology. It is a great academic source.



Timeless, Terran. "The Sociological Aspects of Second Life." Online interview. 19 Oct. 2008.



Terran Timeless, a class mentor, was very helpful in helping me understand the sociological aspects of second life.  Terran became a member of Second Life, researching the potential for virtual worlds for education.  Terran talked to me about something he called “social presence” in Second Life.  He talked about the interaction between people in Second Life and how it is different than real life face-to-face interaction.  Terran went on to talk about virtual community and social networking.  He is a great source for studying the differences between the social interactions in Second Life and real life.



Boellstorff, Tom. Coming of Age in Second Life: an anthropologist explores the virtually human. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2008.



Tom Boellstorff, an Associate Professor in the department of Anthropology, explores a range of issues in the virtual world Second Life.  He gives a scientific description of individual cultures, which in this case, the culture of Second Life. Boellstorff talks about the economy of Second Life, concluding that inequalities do not disappear when we go online.  Tom Boellstorff’s book Coming of Age in Second Life is a very informational source from UR’s library database.  





Guest, Tim. Second Lives: A journey through virtual worlds. Ashland, OR: Blackstone Audio, 2008.



In Guest’s book Second Lives, he talks about how, “An avatar may be an escape from self, but it is also a personification.”  Guest explores the meaning of virtual worlds by interviewing both real life people and virtual avatars.  He studies how these people function differently in virtual worlds than in real life.  Second Lives is a wonderful book that studies virtual worlds and the real world, and it comes from UR’s library database.





My original idea for the final paper was researching the sociological aspects of Second Life; however, seeing that this topic was rather broad, I decided to take only one aspect from the sociology of Second Life, which turns out to be the social interactions in Second Life.  After having my interview with Terran Timeless and reading over it numerous times, I decided I would like to research some of his points more in-depth.  Terran’s thesis is “How does a sense of presence (now referred to as social presence) and place influence student engagement in learning?”  Terran answered this question in a positive way, saying that virtual worlds like Second Life are not all that different from the real world when it comes to the interactions people experience and how this influences them in the long run.  I would like to look at this thesis in another light and study how virtual worlds affect people socially by their “co-presence” interactions rather than a “face-to-face” interaction.  What impact will virtual worlds have on the interactions of future generations? How will virtual worlds change the way we communicate with one another, and how will this in turn influence our reality/future?  Terran shared with me that, reputable sources predict that by 2011, 80% of people under 55 will have a virtual identity, an avatar.”  What does this statistic mean for future generations?  How will this influence the sense of community and so forth in our world?  Will it cause our children to become distant from one another, never knowing one’s true identity?  One can conceal his or her own true real world identity when he or she enters a virtual world.  How will this impact our interactions?  The questions are numerous; however, they all stem from one question, which will be the thesis of my paper.  What role will virtual worlds play in the social interactions of future generations, and how will this influence their reality?  

            I will still use the sources I originally decided to use because they will also be very helpful in this new approach.  Another academic source I have added is:



Czarnecki, Kelly. "Virtual Environments and K-12 Education." MultiMedia&Internet@Schools. Vol. 15 Issue 4. 2008: 14-17.


Czarnecki talks about the ways in which children "escape" from the real world by joining virtual worlds.  What she is saying is that many children find it easier to talk to one another when he or she is not face-to-face with another, which is one quality that draws children in to virtual worlds.






            Looking back on the claim I changed in a Wikipedia entry on Second Life, I am not surprised to find that my claim was changed.  It was changed back to its original state, “Second Life caters for users aged over 18, while Teen Second Life is restricted to users aged between 13 and 18.”  When I read this sentence, I asked myself why this was true.  What is the difference between Second Life and Teen Second Life?  I thought I would research this topic and then use my findings to incorporate these new facts into my claim.  I wanted to inform future readers of Second Life of the differences between these two virtual worlds.  However, I now see that I took my claim too far, making it a major claim.  My claim was not necessarily supported by ‘true facts,’ rather, it sounded very opinionated. Second Life is a 3D virtual world, in which users are presented with mature content, such as strong language, graphic violence, and nudity, catering to users over the age of 18.”  I now see that my claim was rightfully removed, as it gave a bad name to Second Life without any real evidence.  I accused Second Life of being something it does not have to be.  Although, from my experiences in Second Life, I do find my claim to be true, others who are also in Second Life may not.  My claim was a generalization and not appropriate with the context of this article on Wikipedia.  If I was writing a paper and made this claim, I would probably be alright, as long as I supported it.  My claim was changed within a few hours because my over-generalization and the lack of support it had.  I intended to inform people about why Second Life caters to users over the age of 18; however, I ended up stating my bias opinion.






     I really enjoyed reading what Meadows had to say on virtual worlds.  He was very well educated on virtual worlds and what they have to offer.  He was very informative and he had many opinions to offer the reader.  Meadows delivered his opinions in a confident manner, one that allowed me to “buy in to” what he had to say.  I could use the articles “Virtual Work,” “Autonomous Avatars & The Very Present Future,” and “The Children of the Strange Migration,” as sources for my final project.  These three articles told me many things about the relationship between Second Life and the real world.  Meadows shared with his readers that virtual worlds having real money “changes the game into a measurement of real-world status” (61).   Many people use Second Life to live out their real life.  For example, Meadows said that, “Some mornings. While drinking coffee and listening to music and inventing some new sculpture, I would realize that my second life had made working in a real-world corporate office an unthinkable nightmare” (63).  Meadows goes on to talk about the usefulness of virtual worlds in real world technological advancements.  For example, autonomous avatars,  which “…can be defined as any interactive identity that’s run by the system,”  serve as the “dummies” for virtual robots.  “The work is oriented around creating new solutions for the emerging industry of robotics, but aspects of it are starting in virtual worlds first” (111).  As researchers learn to make avatars more realistic, “…people will instinctively want their avatars to become real” (112).  Meadows says, “Humans and avatars are converging into something new” (113).  Saying this, Meadows informs his readers of the dangers of avatars and virtual worlds.  He says, “Too many avatars could cause the sense of community to disintegrate, and physical, real-world accidents will happen more frequently” (118).  “Each avatar should be a valued commodity…in which personalization and customization increase the user’s desire to drive it” (120).  Meadows goes on to tell his readers about the dangers of decentralization and how to avoid it.  If decentralization occurs, virtual world could become, “…a collection of unconnected neighborhoods.  People need to be encouraged to circulate and interact.  Better civic design of virtual worlds would enhance the social benefits of avatars” (121).  To avoid decentralization, there needs to be some sort of system for authentication of identity.  Ebay.com provides this authentication of identity by allowing users to identify how trustworthy other users are based on a person’s reputation.  Meadows brings about another really strong point in his book talking about the side-affects that come form computers and Internet Addiction.  “…if you do anything straight for three days, you run health risks you might not recover from.  Not to mention obesity, repetitive stress injury, and other side-effects that come from computers in general” (122).  Meadows goes on to say, “…it does seem likely that as virtual worlds become more real, and as avatars become more immediate (that is, as we move away from the interfaces we currently use and find there to be less and less of  a division between our real life and our virtual life), that the likelihood of problems such as these will fade” (122); however, “…the frequency of physical violence to avatar drivers as a result of in-world events will be proportional to our psychological nearness to our avatars” (123).  Meadows does a wonderful job of relaying what he knows to be true of virtual worlds and his own opinions of the pros and cons of virtual worlds to us.





            It is ten o’clock a.m. on Thursday morning, the morning of Thanksgiving.  In a few hours the rest of the family will be coming over to feast and gossip.  The over-sized turkey is patiently waiting in the refrigerator ready to be cleaned, buttered, and stuffed.  The table is being set, the vacuum is running, the dog is barking, the drinks are being poured,  the shower is running, the flour is flying, and the occasional words of “Happy Thanksgiving” are being said.  My sister is in the kitchen making our grandmothers homemade pumpkin pie recipe while I patiently wait  for the apple crisp to come out of the oven.  The windows are cracked and the cool fall breeze enters our kitchen.  My dad is preparing the turkey, while my mom begins making her famous gravy.  Nothing smells better than the crisp fall air mixed with the smell of turkey, stuffing, pies, sweet potatoes, and cranberries.  No schoolwork to be finished, no soccer to be played, no stress to be had, just relaxation, cooking, eating, and socializing.  It is a perfect day.  It is now 4 o’clock and the entire Kinealy clan arrives dressed to impress.  The men are as rowdy as ever, and the women are happier than ever to see each other, as they can finally catch a break from the Irish lads.  Songs are sung and poems are recited like any true Irish man would do.  The turkey is finally ready, and the side dishes are all warmed up ready to be eaten.  Each stomach is stretched to its full capacity, as buttons are undone and girdles are taken off.  But, do not worry there is always room for dessert!  The night is coming to a close, the last pictures are taken and the last hugs are traded.  It was yet another successful Thanksgiving at the Kinealy house.  As we clean off the last dish, put away the last glass, and throw away the last bottle, all we can think of is its almost Christmas!  Nothing compares to the holidays.




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Comments (7)

Joe Essid said

at 7:48 pm on Sep 21, 2008

I think you'll find it challenging, then, when you are required to pose as a different race or gender for one week, and spend a few hours in SL.

Then you'll blog about that experience. You will find it interesting :)

For the scavenger-hunt blog, I enjoyed the reading but kept asking "where ARE those pictures?" I expect to see some in future blogs about the ongoing hunt (it does not end this week).

Chris Forhan said

at 5:05 pm on Oct 1, 2008

Hi Bridget. Thanks for your comments about my trip to Ireland. I really appreciate it. I loved reading your blog post about soccer. I like how you were vague in the beginning by not telling the reader what sport you were referring to. The passage really made me realize what it truely feels like, not only to be a soccer player, but an athlete in general. Personally, as a tennis player, I found myself able to relate to many of the characteristics you described. Sports can be very demanding but the rewards are indescribable. It was a very well written blog entry that obviously hits home to you.

Joe Essid said

at 4:17 pm on Oct 27, 2008

“Second Life is a 3D virtual world, in which users are presented with mature content, such as strong language, graphic violence, and nudity, catering for users over the age of 18.”

As a wager (say, 100L on my part to your writing another blog for my column, if you lose) I bet that this claim gets HEAVILY edited. Watch the discussion and history tabs on Wikipedia...some SL zealots (in particular from the company) will take offense at the emphasis here, especially the "graphic violence" claim, which is the weakest part of your claim. Graphic violence is worse in most video games because the SL graphics engine cannot (yet) support the sort of gore that appears in many games.

By the way, the correct idiom is "cater to." "Cater for" would work in a literal sense, such as "my company catered for the company picnic....and we cater to the tastes of those who love spicy food."

Second, GREAT use of research to check on Baron....you should dig that deeply when you do the final project.

Kate Reilly said

at 4:20 pm on Oct 30, 2008

You seem to be headed in the right direction! Your sources seem reliable and full of useful information that you will be able to help prove your major claim in the final paper. Of course you are going to need to narrow down your topic into a claim but I too am focusing my paper on social aspects of Second Life.

Kate Reilly said

at 4:21 pm on Oct 30, 2008

You seem to be headed in the right direction! Your sources seem reliable and full of useful information that you will be able to help prove your major claim in the final paper. Of course you are going to need to narrow down your topic into a claim but I too am focusing my paper on social aspects of Second Life.

Joe Essid said

at 9:24 pm on Nov 2, 2008

"Possible topics I would like to look at are: the social norms of Second Life, if there are any, the interaction between people, social groups, and the inequalities and diversity of this virtual world."

Pick ONE of these...James Au, who knows more about SL than anyone outside Linden Lab, could not cover those topics well in one outstanding book! Perhaps you can cover them all by finding a focal point as you do research, to end up with something about how roleplaying groups in SL reflect both the world's norms and its diversity (or lack of it). Going to be a tall order for you, so be prepared to FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS.

You write, "I would like to avoid the claim that Second Life’s norms are better or worse than real life." Good point! A key element of Writing Analytically has been to avoid pre-judgment. You may, in the end, simply find one enormous difference between SL and RL norms, and that will be the crux of your argument. Exploring the why of such a difference may be more important that falling into the "better/worse" binary.

I like the sources, and I'll be buying a personal copy of Boellstorff's book. Check out Meadows' I, Avatar, in particular the chapters on the psychology of griefers, furries, and Goreans. And Terran is a brilliant fellow--I'm so glad you were able to interview him.

BrandonLesko said

at 11:46 am on Nov 6, 2008

I like the focus of your final topic: the sociological aspects of Second Life. I am doing something along similar lines but with regards to addiction. Your sources look to be quite sound and it appears that you are headed in the right direction.

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