Freedom of Expression and Social Norms in the Second Life - Essay Example

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The researcher of this essay aims to analyze the relationship between real life and virtual world by discussing the concepts of communication, social norms, and self-expression with reference to Boellstroff’s work. The virtual world has been in existence for quite some time…
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Freedom of Expression and Social Norms in the Second Life
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"Freedom of Expression and Social Norms in the Second Life"

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 a race, color, gender, profession, social class, and other factors, many barriers are eliminated, at least to some extent. Absolute freedom in the 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 significant in the enhancement of anonymity in the virtual world. From the book, I learned that lack of identity in the virtual world is of great importance in the enhancement of communication. In the virtual world, people have the choice to remain anonymous. This makes it possible to express themselves freely unlike in the real world. I was surprised to learn that in the virtual world it is possible to maintain a friendship with your best real friend anonymously. 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 this point by stating that people can hide their identity to the extent of their genders (Boelstroff, 2008: 61). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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