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BraveView: Virtual life can be better than reality for some

By Amanda Hickey

I think it’s safe to assume that everyone has wondered, at least once, what the world would be like without judgment. Before recently, I often wondered what it would be like to live in a judgment-free world.

Manda Flanagan
The Pine Needle editor's avatar Manda Flanagan exploring Second Life.
Then I discovered Second Life, otherwise known as SL.

Some consider SL to be a game, while others consider it a learning opportunity. For me, it’s neither. It’s an entirely different life experience.

In SL, I can be the person I want to be in real life.

When I log on, it doesn’t matter how bad a day I had, or how people may look at me. I am no longer Amanda.
Instead, I become a whole new person who appears as an avatar on the grid.

That avatar doesn’t receive funny looks and never has a bad day. She doesn’t worry about any thing other than her next exploration.

When I was first introduced to SL, I hated it. I could not get interested in it to save my life, nor could I understand how people got so involved in the program.

After a three month break, I returned to the grid and caught the bug that I call the SL addiction.

It’s different from other virtual worlds. It allows residents to see one another as they wish to be seen and to get to know one another without stereotypes.

In SL, the resident can choose how simple or complicated their life is. Now, that isn’t possible in real life no matter how much effort is put into the hope.

In SL, a resident chooses whether or not they want to have friends, whether or not they want to be involved in drama and, most importantly, when they’ve had enough for the day.

Unlike real life, when it’s time for the day to end, it’s possible to log off and not deal with any thing related to that life until the next time you log in. There’s no constant worry of being interrupted or not getting to sleep because the phone won’t stop ringing.

SL is a different experience, but it’s one that brings technology and social networking to an entirely new level. Not to mention, it’s a lot of fun, too.


The University of North Carolina at Pembroke The print edition of The Pine Needle
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Updated: Wednesday, December 5, 2007
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