Sunday, March 14, 2010

Second Life Culture 02: Platform as Evolutionary Force

SL Culture 01

The technology and governance of the Second Life platform don't just enable and shape culture, they are essential parts of culture itself. The platform environment is both the evolutionary force we must adapt to and the medium through which we act, interact and experience in the virtual world.

For instance, avatar appearance forms a foundational basis for some of Second Life's key cultures such as furries, tinies and fashionistas. But the enabling technology is usually so taken for granted that its role is invisible. Without the ability to modify avatar size and shape and to create, buy, sell and use virtual clothing and attachments, those cultures would either not exist or would have expressed very differently.

Our personal identities are also subject to changes in the platform and social environments. A significant  measure of one's sense of personal identity is derived through social identity within the groups we belong to. Cultural changes therefore create changes in personal identity.

Changes in the platform will inherently cause adaptive modifications of culture, which in turn will shape our sense of identity as avatars. Although it's impossible to predict where this is heading in the long run, it is possible make educated guesses about how particular changes might impact culture in the short term. I'll discuss some specific examples in an upcoming post.


Lalo Telling said...

The rimpoche of Venn Buddhism makes another mandala. :)

Looking forward to the continuation of the discussion, too.

Sowa Mai's dog said...

Just look at the voice system. Its farmed out, a small percentage use it so it doesn't get any attention at all in the new viewer.