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March 19, 2007


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I'm your polar opposite I suppose, very stubbornly uninterested in the internet and technology and science fiction. I just can't get my head around it. Or perhaps I resist it.

Online worlds is a concept completely alien to me. But I did notice that most of the beautiful avatars bear a striking resemblance to Scarlett Johansson.


Hi waspgoddess — Based on your enjoyable blog, I'd not have guessed that you were uninterested in technology!

Interesting point about Scarlett Johansson. I see that now.

susan abraham

Hello KG,
You stopped over at my blog for Sunday Scribblings. Sorry I'm returning the visit late.
Thank you for saying that you would be so inspired if my play got to be staged in the UK after all.
That is the nicest thing that anyone has said about my play as yet.:-)

Gavin Heaton

KG ... Second Life is interesting ... don't know what for yet -- but it still seems quite like a wilderness at the moment. Having said that, who has time to make an avatar that looks good? Way too much attention to detail required for me!

But I will be interested to see what you make of it!


Susan — You are so welcome about the play! You really have to keep us posted...

Gavin — I totally agree on the time an avatar needs! And if I can't even find the time to Twitter (which I'd love!), how am I going to work this? I think my avatar will be some sort of basic one. We'll see...more soon.


"very stubbornly uninterested in the internet and technology and science fiction."

Jules Verne was science fiction, yet no one thinks of submarines in that way today. Early filmmakers made science fiction movies of men going to the moon. Now we talk of going to Mars. The Star Trek communicator was once a science fiction staple, and now global cell phones are no big deal.

There is nothing "science fiction" about people using 3D avatars for education, business, and recreational pursuits. For those that characterize it as such, may I suggest never again flying in a plane or using anything containing electronics as those were all considered fantastical non-sense at one point in our shared history.

"Online worlds is a concept completely alien to me."

Maybe not so alien. William Gibson, author and the person most associated with "cyberspace" (a term he coined), once said that telephones are the first virtual spaces. When you think about it the observation makes sense. Where *is* someone when they're talking intently on the phone? There's little difference between calling someone on a phone and communicating with them via any other electronic means. If you've ever gotten choked up hearing a 911 recording played on a television news show, you're just as likely to feel those emotions when someone - another avatar - tells you (via chat or voice) that their family just died in a fire.

"Second Life is interesting ... don't know what for yet"

Educational institutions (including Harvard) use it to teach. Some families separated by physical distance (e.g. soldiers in Iraq) "meet" inside SL and together watch movies which are streamed into the space. Other people are using it to prototype ideas and even physical objects (3D data is 3D data; the objects you buy in real life most likely start off as "virtual" data represented in 3D on a monitor). Some use it to practice language skills (there are virtual translation devices). Others use it to test business ideas or to learn about the future of marketing. And yes, some use it to role-play.

The real problem I've seen people face isn't "what is there to do", it's "in what activity do I wish to actively engage" (as opposed to being passive either in being directed as in most games, or being inactive as in watching television). People are in general so used to being fed entertainment that being presented with what is effectively a big sand box in which they are expected to create their own entertainment is overwhelming.

"Having said that, who has time to make an avatar that looks good?"

One of the most interesting things I learned was how Shopping was such a desirable activity for so many people, and making their avatar look good takes little effort since everything can be purchased; from shapes to skins to clothes to eyes to hair to accessories. Very few people do it on their own. The bigger issue about which I wonder is: why does it matter?


Csven — Such excellent points! Thanks for dropping by and addressing people's concerns/questions about avatars and virtual life.

I'm going to read your responses in depth, and check out your blog. You've given all of us a lot to think about, and I think your comment will start a few more conversations and possible posts.


Well, should you wish to do so, feel free to drop me a message inside Second Life (Csven Concord). I'm not in it all that much, but I've been trying to make time lately to finish off a couple of my own projects.


Csven — Thanks for the offer. I've never been to Second Life before, and I'm planning on trying it within the next couple of weeks. When I do so, I will drop you a line.


As I met someone from RL in SL last night, I should take this opportunity to provide some simple instructions:

After you log in and go through Orientation Island (where you learn a few basic things), do a Search (big button at the bottom). Under the "People" tab, just enter "csven". I'm the only one so my name will pop up. That will provide you with a few options like viewing my Profile and such. One of those options is to send me an Instant Message. If I'm logged into SL, I can offer to Teleport your avatar out to my Land where I can help explain things and answer some questions.

If I'm not logged in, the message will be forwarded to my Yahoo mail (still my primary net-based mail). I may not see it quickly enough, but if I do, I'll try to log in.

All the best.

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  • My name is Kristin Gorski. I recently earned my doctorate (EdD) in instructional technology and media. My research focuses on technology and literacies, writing in digital spaces, and how media literacy may support academic literacy (among other incredibly interesting topics). On occasion, I’m also a freelance writer and editor. “Write now is good.” is my personal blog about writing, creativity and inspiration (with healthy doses of technology in relevant places). I started it in blogging's heyday (2006) and still post to it, time permitting. If you'd like to collaborate on a project, have writing/technology/creativity info to share, or want to say, "Hi," contact me at kgwritenow (at) yahoo dot com. To read more about me, click on the "ABOUT" link below.


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