You may recall movies like Matrix, Gamer, Transcendence, or Surrogate where the movie portrays a normal life as mundane and stressful, and then there is an alternate reality that opens up to them and, depending on the movie, they either like the virtual or they hate it. I am sure that at some point in our life, we could relate to these movies, both wanting to go virtual and at other times stay in the physical. On June 23, 2003, Second Life was released and since then has given over 1 million active users a release from the physical world. If you ever wanted to look like someone else, live in another country and/or time period, or dress a certain way, this virtual reality enables you to express yourself in so many ways and also find likeminded people to share in your genre. So what is so cool about Second Life? And what can this software do to increase our communication? Second Life is a 3-D virtual reality simulator; it has no set objectives or point system (unless you count the real money that is used to buy virtual stuff). However, for me, this virtual reality is an extremely effective tool to open up the communication field to so many people in the world. There are countless examples of “residents” that are able to garner international fame by reaching out through this software. Engrama is both a physical and a virtual band that set up live shows virtually and other “residents” pay to see their shows – which are often performed live via their own house. They mention that by being a “resident” of Second Life, they are able to reach more people than they can in their hometown of Barcelona. There is also the Relay for Life that sets up fundraisers to help raise cancer awareness. They also mention that it is far more effective to virtually host their shows because there is no overhead, they do not have to travel, and it is far simpler to raise donations. In the grand scheme of the software, it breaks down social barriers and many residents state that there is far more social interaction between people on Second Life than there is on Facebook, Twitter, and many other social platforms. Resident, Kriss Lehmann, was able to find love and he eventually married (physically), thanks to the virtual software. In addition, Kriss, was able to quit his 60+ hour job and make (real) money virtually by designing virtual landscaping items; he now only works roughly 20 hours a week.
In conclusion, I feel that Second Life is something that will eventually become more popular as technology progresses and we start to converge with it. As for the communication aspect, it can greatly increase your reach to increase your social network, find a niche, and to express yourself with others that share in the same interests as yourself.
Second Life Link
Kriss Lehmann Link
Benefits of Second Life Link