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In this paper I will explore the virtual world as a way of reducing communication barriers due to appearance, norms and that - Essay Example

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Freedom of Expression and Social Norms in the Second Life Dual existence both in real life and in virtual world has become a lifestyle as well as a necessity in the modern world. An appreciable number of people spend large a lot of time in the virtual world otherwise known as second life (SL)…
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In this paper I will explore the virtual world as a way of reducing communication barriers due to appearance, norms and that
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In this paper I will explore the virtual world as a way of reducing communication barriers due to appearance, norms and that

Download file to see previous pages... Although the virtual world has been in existence for quite some time, its significance had not been clear until I read the book by Boellstroff. I realized that the virtual world means more than just communication to its residents. Freedom of communication and expression is the primary force behind the existence of the virtual world. Communication in the real world is usually subject to communication barriers due to differences in cultural, ethnic, social, and personal communication skills. However, this is not the case in virtual worlds such as second life. In the virtual world, a person or resident has the ability to choose an identity unlike in the real world. This makes it possible for people to communicate freely in the virtual world irrespective of their social norms in the real world. By being able to choose race, color, gender, profession, social class, and other factors, many barriers are eliminated, at least to some extent. Absolute freedom in virtual world is limited due to factors such as language barrier, internet connectivity, among others. The capability to choose one’s identity in the virtual world is also significance in the enhancement of anonymity in the virtual world. ...
Most importantly, it is possible to interact freely with your enemies and other people who are out of reach in the real world. The author of the book emphasizes on this point by stating that people can hide their identity to the extent of their genders (Boelstroff, 2008: 61). I also realized that the virtual world has the ability to overcome geographical barriers of communication since people are able to communicate regardless of their geographical location. Although geographical barriers to communication have been eased by web conferencing and cellphone communication, it is not as free and available as it is in virtual world. Virtual worlds also make it possible interact with diverse communities that conflict with personal identities in the real world. For instance, it is possible for a Christian to attend a mosque in virtual world and share their sermons. This is not possible in the real world. The real world has norms that act as a measure of wrong and right. According to the author, the virtual world has developed a code of behavior for most of its users. Initially, I had thought of second life as a form of recreation. I considered our acceptable codes of behavior in different societies to hold in the virtual world as well. For instance, a person intruding into other people’s conversation will be flagged off since this is an unacceptable norm in virtual world. However, after reading the book I realized that norms in the virtual world are slightly different. According to Boelstroff (2008) “ virtual worlds are not just recreation or simulations of the actual-world selfhoods and communities, selfhood, communities, even notions of human nature are being remade in them” (pg. 63). This implies that although the norms are different in the two worlds, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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