The concept behind Second Life has intrigued me since I first heard it mentioned years ago by Dwight on an old episode of “The Office.” The idea is definitely an interesting one, and I think one that garners pretty diverse opinions.
My personal opinion has always been that I would not want a “second life.” On the introductory website, there is a short video explaining why people would use second life. The words connect, work, explore, and love were all used in the description. Wouldn’t doing all of these things be better in your “first life,” since they actually exist?
Now, I never have personally used Second Life, and to be fair I am sure that it possesses some sort of redeeming qualities for those who choose to spend their time there. Perhaps it’s a way for people to make friends when they have social issues in the real world, or people just want to meed people from all over the globe, or possibly live out things that they would never get the opportunity to do, such as own their dream home.
I am reminded of a clip I saw last semester from the Frontline documentary Digital Nation where they spoke to several people involved in the creation and carrying out of Second Life. The creator mentioned how he had such an active first life that he wanted to carry out everything else he wanted to do through a virtual one. While this may be the case for him, I doubt that that is the case for the majority of people who use the program.
Second life seems to have a heavy dose of escapism involved. It seems like today more and more people are turning towards the internet and living digital lives instead of real, tangible ones. It is not only the case with Second Life, but facebook, twitter, youtube, and a vast variety of other social media sites. It is a complicated issue, because as people are being forced to go online to stay “connected” with others, we have to be careful to not let our “second lives” become our first.