Sunday, May 4, 2008

The ongoing quest for SLurpose

There were quite a few thought-provoking posts this weekend related to virtual worlds (thanks to link-giving-god-incarnate Mal Burns.)
In Virtual Exits: Second Life Residents Turn Their Back, Second Life Travel Guide author Sean Percival chronicled a few notable residents who have announced their imminent departures, including his own.

Social presence and skin deep reality
discussed social presence and the perception of avatar appearance in Second Life.

A Guardian article described the launch of Britain's first Masters degree in "cyberpsychology."

Some leave. Some stay. Some enter.

Just like a personal hook-up, a hot crush on Second Life itself has a shelf life of just weeks or months. Unless one can find some kind of deeper purpose or new position, boredom and dissatisfaction will likely emerge. If the initial chasm of disillusionment is crossed successfully, ongoing conscious effort is required to keep things fresh.

In the few months I've been here, my SLpurpose has already shifted a few times. Given my personal situation, virtual navel-gazing has been a constant thread. But along the way my focus has shifted from intrapersonal communication, to self identity, to sociological interaction and now to visually-oriented expression. Although one can dig deep-and-narrow or wide-and-shallow, digging we must do.

So I ask you, dear reader: What is your SLpurpose?


Ron T Blechner said...

Does one need a purpose? Why can't it be a tool like AIM or Facebook or Maya or a blog? I think the idea that it's a second "life" implies it requires some grandiose purpose, but really, like the Internet itself, sometimes you log on to do something, and sometimes you don't. Sometimes you chat, sometimes you create something, sometimes you buy something.

Dale Innis said...

Second Life is much more a "life" to me, a difference-in-kind thing, than is AIM or Facebook or etc. Although, having said that, FB for instance is probably the same way: if you come in just out of curiosity, you probably stop bothering pretty soon unless you find some real purpose for it, some function in your life.

My SLurpose (great word) has turned out to be the people, the amazing friends I've made and continue to make. I think of myself as awkward and antisocial in RL, and it's been a real revelation how much I love being with people and socializing once some of the disaffordances of RL are gone.

I expected my purpose in SL to be building and scripting and experimenting with neat things. And I still do that, but if some friend IMs about some interesting social thing going on, I'm outta there! :)

Anonymous said...

That's a tough one. It started from curiosity, then turned out to be lot of fun, then became psycho-social experiment... which led to more fun... in the menwhile friends appeared, and it largely became a daily routine with purpose or not...
No, I really don't know. After all, it is not essential to know the purpose as long as things are rolling.

Botgirl Questi said...

Hiro: Yes, I think it can be a tool. And what's the use of a tool without a purpose? I didn't mean to imply a purpose had to be "grandiose." For instance, I see fun as a possible purpose.

I think that it is easy to keep returning to something that was initially rewarding long after it grows stale. Could be out of habit, guilt or in hopes that the initial attraction will return as mysteriously as it vanished.

I'm suggesting that if we keep a little awareness going, it is possible to notice when the thrill starts to go and then dig a bit deeper or transition to something else.

Botgirl Questi said...

dale: Great's as much discovering purpose as creating it. I guess awareness is the common thread.

Botgirl Questi said...

dandellion: I tend to approach things more from logic than feeling. So I especially appreciate your post, which I interpret as "if it continues to feel good, don't sweat it."

Anonymous said...

Purpose = (in no particular order) to escape; unwind; explore; experiment; learn; acquire inventory; become both more & less my self; be.