you can be what you want to be


An often claimed allure of virtual worlds like Second Life is the "ability to be what pne choses." And on surface level I might agree to that. It is a promise the virtual world has for us. In my actual experience I see something else happen. It's something I've seen in many years of RPGing too (RolePlaying Games - both pen and paper based and live action)

It's true, the virtuality, the illusion, has the potential for us to be exactly 'what we want to be'... so we go out, collect or buy all the costumes, equipment, tweak all the appearance settings... and (virtually) become that ideal self. Only in some cases the 'illusion' is very 'convincing' and in others... it's a shallow farce. Some have a virtual persona that is very true, deep and sustainable. Others blow you away on first sight, but quickly become boring or over the top or anoying.

Sure, in virtual worlds 'good looks' is something you can easily buy and apply. But real beauty? Actual sparkling personality? Sustainable attention focus?

Nah, sorry.

You will always only be as interesting, alluring and sparkling as you are. Here ort elsewhere.

A virtual world makes it easier to change your first impression - to a degree.

Because for real lookers it will not do to buy the most expensive outfit, the most fabled desigern's creation.

It requires TASTE. intelligence, and personality.

Anyone lacking those will be able to blind you more easily in the virtual than in the real. But they will still always be a fake.

What the virtual actualy DOES make easier is for someone to move beyond real world limitations they may have. In a way it levels the playing field.

I keep being reminded of one very profound truth I once read about Second Life: "SL is what you bring to it. If you are dull and unimaginative in RL, SL will be much the same for you."

Further reading:


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Martin Spernau
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