Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Has the Avtaar taken over?

Every Tuesdays and Fridays, we have learning sessions presented by each one of us. This week, it was my turn. I will be presenting on Multi-User Virtual Environments (will blog later on this). As for all presentations, I was reading up on this topic. During my coffee break, I picked up MetroPlus (Hindu) and read the first article, Trapped in the Net. This post talks about Internet addiction disorder (IAD), "...pathological use of computers, to engage in social interactivity."

"It is becoming common to know of someone, or have heard of someone, who has become obsessed with online activity to the point that their alternative online lives have masqueraded - and in some cases completely dominated - their identities. " "Broken marriages, lost jobs and plunging college grades are just some of the things that people who spend upto 18 hours per day in virtual reality face."

Interesting, isn't it? These quotes had me thinking of Second life. This is a multi-user virtual environment in which you can create an avtaar for yourself. This environment has its own economy (can you believe it?); the currency is Linden. You can buy and sell stuff in this environment. It must be so easy to dissolve yourself completely into this virtual environment that depicts real life through the eyes of the user. The avtaar is probably everything you want to be and are not. It is the ideal person that you want to be.

Now, coming to the point about IAD. So, would you start believing that the avtaar is actually the real you? It is upto to the user to realize their responsibilities and not let their avtaar become real.


Mousumi Ghosh said...

Really interesting article Archie! Looking forward to your presentation on MUVEs. But I guess most of us have to spend 2/3rd of our day on internet, may be this is the reason people want to create avatars and remain active in virtual environments.

Archana Narayan said...

Thanks Mouse! It will be really interesting to see why people create avtaars and their background will help us understand why they become obsessed with the chats, orkut, gaming and so on.