Second Life and DeomcracyPosted: December 11, 2011
For my final post of the semester, and probably the last time I play Second Life, I decided to visit the Oval Office. I thought for a while about the last place I wanted to visit. I knew I wanted it to be a real place and I had already visited many cities so I chose the Oval Office. I read the description of the destination and was even more enticed to go. The description read “Virtual Oval OFfice: This replica of the Oval Office mimics the current decor of the real-life building, capturing all the tiny details even down to the paintings on the walls and the screen on the laptop! Have a fireside chat or sit in the presidential chair as you experience what its like to make key leadership decisions for the United States.”
I was teleported to the Virtual Oval Office and was a bit surprised. The office was in a white building on a street surrounded by other buildings. I was confused but proceeded to walk towards the building. However, when I reach the door I was unaware how to actually enter the room.
When I finally did walk into the office, there was another avatar already in there. I guess we had the same idea to act as President for the day.
While sitting at the virtual desk…
I started to think a lot about Democracy. We have spoken a lot about democracy, government, and regulation throughout the entire semester and I think it has been a vital part of my learning. In lecture we learned a lot about the Public Sphere and how it is a place “where citizens can come together to form public opinion and make it heard.” Fraser explains the Public Sphere as a Subaltern Counter-publics where group interests reached in alternative spaces, than brought to mainstream. I think this partially applies to the Second Life community. I think groups interests are met in alternative spaces, most specifically the virtual world. Not only can people blog on SecondLife.com but they can travel and explore together in the virtual world. People can chat through the game and learn features through other avatars. But, I do not think the Second Life community wants to be brought to the mainstream. This is a place for people to be who they want to be and create their own identity. It is the ultimate way to be alternative from the mainstream.
I think it is better to call Second Life a Networked Public Sphere. Papacharissi explains the Virtual Sphere as a complex network of publics and counter publics in common virtual space and that the Internet is the new kind of public/private sphere. I believe that Second Life completely falls under this category of virtual space. In Second Life you can be as private, like my experience, or as public as you want to be. People come together and form a community and open up to one another. But regardless of how public or private you choose to be in this game, every avatar is in a common virtual space.
This is the conclusion to my blog posts about my Second Life experience.